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August 15, 2022



Commentary: Czech Interior Ministry is realizing ultra-nationalist politician is becoming a monster

28.8.2019 7:34
A woman with her collection of Nazi swastikas around her neck on 25 April 2019 during a demonstration on Wenceslas Square in Prague by the populist-xenophobic
A woman with her collection of Nazi swastikas around her neck on 25 April 2019 during a demonstration on Wenceslas Square in Prague by the populist-xenophobic "Freedom and Direct Democracy Movement of Tomio Okamura" (SPD) that featured speeches by Marine Le Pen, Matteo Salvini and Geert Wilders as well as a concert by a neo-Nazi band. (PHOTO: Video by REFLEX, Collage by

According to the latest quarterly report on extremism from the Czech Interior Ministry, the scandal named "Tomio Okamura" has reached a monstrous phase. The steep inclination of his political focus is culminating in a sheer extremism that is even overshadowing the "traditional" neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic propaganda on the extremist scene here.

Collective blame

When Okamura announced he would be running for the Senate in 2012, he said the following: "I am very sensitive about people being infringed upon because of their opinions or religion." Currently, as part of his campaign against democracy, Okamura is taking hateful swipes at Roma, his political opponents, gays and lesbians, not to mention migrants - they are the subject of his rabid ravings almost every day on the Internet's social networks.

It would be impossible to actually count the number of remarks Okamura has made against migrants. Here are a few examples.

He posted the following to Facebook on 26 August: "In Germany, because of immigration, the migrants are committing unbelievable atrocities. Here are the examples. During 2018, there were 4 100 crimes committed in the Federal Republic of Germany using a knife. In 2017 there were 3 700 such crimes, but in 2008 there were 'just' 400. During the last 10 years, the number of crimes committed using a knife in Germany has increased by more than 900 % - from one a day to more than 10. This crime is very frequently associated with immigrants, and the cases are very shocking. An African immigrant, for example, cut the head off of a young child... Another time an Eritrean immigrant from Africa pushed a mother and child under a train in Frankfurt... A Syrian immigrant used a sword to stab a man in front of his 11-year-old daughter in Germany...", etc.

These examples are either outright lies or an attempt to ascribe an individual's guilt to an entire group (collective blame). According to Okamura, migrants as a whole bear responsibility for the actions of some specific foreign nationals.

All it takes for him to blame migrants in Germany is that little phrase "This crime is very frequently associated with immigrants...". What does "frequently" mean, though?

How many migrants have committed such crimes, exactly? Why did they commit them?

Did all of the migrants who committed such crimes do so for the same reasons? Did any of these incidents involve, for example, self-defense?

What proportion of such crimes does the number of those committed by migrants represent compared to non-migrants who have committed the same kinds of acts? Okamura does not need any such facts, nor does he need proof, not even indirect proof.

He doesn't need to analyze this problem. He just publishes his allegations, his ideology, and his view of the world as if it were the truth.

All he needs for that are lies and generalizations - collective blame is an important, effective instrument of totalitarians, and Okamura is one, without a doubt, and he wants to take power. Let's recall, for example, that it was the crime of one individual - the murder of a German bureaucrat in Paris by a Jewish youth - that was the pretext for Hitler's adherents to unleash pogroms against Jewish people during Kristallnacht.

On the night of 9 November 1938 and into the early morning hours of 10 November, the Nazis humiliated, assaulted, murdered and abducted Jewish people in Germany to send them to concentration camps, doing the same one day later in occupied Austria and the occupied border areas of the Czech lands. A total of 267 synagogues were burned down or otherwise demolished, while 7 500 Jewish-owned apartments and shops were plundered during that time.

During the pogrom, 91 Jewish people were murdered and 30 000 ended up in extermination camps. Naturally, this had long been preceded by Hitler fiercely going after Jewish people, Romani people, his political opponents and homosexuals.

It was an atmosphere of hatred that made it possible for him to present a crime committed by one young man as an offense committed by all Jews. Exactly such an atmosphere is what Okamura is doing his best to bring about, with the hearty assistance of some other politicians and several media outlets - so the guru of this kind of politics, Czech President Zeman, has less work to do on that front, for the moment.

A "more effective, more progressive" SPD

The Czech Interior Ministry (and the Security Information Services - BIS) are currently more cautious in their reports on extremism when they describe the politics of Okamura's SPD party, because Zeman has "explained" to them that Okamura and his movements are not extremists. After all, if Zeman were to admit that Okamura is an extremist, then he would also inevitably have to consider himself an extremist.

Despite this, both institutions have been regularly reporting on the nature of the SPD's actions, if only by using metaphors and other ways of doing so. "The traditional extreme-right parties, in the period under review, were mainly oriented toward their relationships with their colleagues abroad. A great part of their domestic subject matter continues to be taken over by the more effective, more progressive 'Freedom and Direct Democracy - Tomio Okamura' movement," the Interior Ministry's quarterly report on extremism states.

"Xenophobic politicians, activists and disinformation media continue to successfully divide society. The target of this prejudicial hatred is becoming groups with different political convictions, more and more. Attacks against specific representatives of these groups are becoming a very dangerous phenomenon. The vast majority of such attacks, for the time being, are verbal aggression, but of course physical assaults have also been recorded," the report says.

The targets of these attacks have been, for quite some time, representatives of national, ethnic, religious and sexual minorities, homeless people and human rights activists, and rather more recently, politicians from non-extremist parties and journalists. Racist, xenophobic remarks and actions are being called patriotism and conservatism, or a controversial intention "to spark discussion about burning social questions".

The author of the report also writes that "experience abroad and domestically demonstrates that tolerating verbally hateful displays leads to their growing into physical violence. In the Czech Republic, it is possible to consider the radicalization of new activists or groups a current risk, as well as the further reactivation of older racist veterans of the neo-Nazi scene. Police and prosecutors therefore are dedicating increased attention to this security threat."

Displays of prejudicial hatred, according to the Interior Ministry, represent a danger to democracy, to specific groups and their individual members, and prevent the constructive addressing of social problems. There is really nothing more to add to that finding.

Just this, perhaps: It is a good thing that the Interior Ministry (and maybe even BIS) have actually begun to take this phenomenon seriously. Not so long ago, they didn't.

fk, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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