So, I finally finished Bloodlands. Here are my thoughts of some points that stood out to me:
It made me think when Snyder discussed the false equivalency between Jews and communism. To add a little detail, because Russian communist elites such as Leo Trotsky and Vladimir Lenin were Jewish, Jewish people seen in Europe as communists, spawning the term, Jewish Bolshevikism, which the Nazi Party used constantly in order to sow in to the hearts of non-Jewish people fear and mistrust of their Jewish neighbors and compatriot. It almost reminded me of today’s recent trend of incriminating peaceful, patriotic Muslims as the greatest threat to the U.S.–okay, let’s be honest: the whole system of “Western democracy”, when only a minority of them are terrorists. Reading this just reminded me to be careful of stereotypes because it can cause an environment to become conducive to hate, which if concentrated and put in power, can lead to events such as the Holocaust.
Snyder also includes a few sections about rape of Jewish and German women by German and Soviet troops respectively and I have to say that I am glad. In the last book that I read in this class about the Armenian Genocide, rape of Armenian women only received a paragraph. Snyder, however, impressed me by not delving headfirst into that typical gassing and mass shooting and concentration camps monologue that I have heard almost every time I hear something about the Holocaust. And Snyder also refuted the claims that German laws on “race mixing” prevented and punished rape, which caused an internal celebration in my brain because that is just about the stupidest argument against rape that I have ever heard, equaling the practice of victim blaming and “well, she’s not acting like she’s been raped.” I also thought that Snyder did and honorable thing by acknowledging that German women suffered as well, in essence adding to his argument that the traditional, “Western” view of the 1930’s and the 1940’s in which the Germans are “responsible for all of the atrocities and they were never attacked themselves” is dismissive of the atrocities committed by the Soviets before, during and after WWII.
Honestly, the rape depictions have gotten better now since reading Killing Civilians, but it still breaks my heart every time I read about rape and I can only pray to God that these bastards burn in hell for their actions if they’re not remorseful because I would so soon bash them over their foreheads and stick forks every place I could find if I ever encountered a rapist—Dear God, keep me sane. And the next book is about Rwanda and I just know my time in this class is about to get shitty. However, as hard as it is to read about, it’s imperative that I read about it so that I can help stop it from happening, and so I can’t be afraid of reading about rape so much that it keeps me from reading about it, especially when actual women were forced to endure it and its long-standing effects. Dear God, I pray for them too.