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Der erste Tote ist es, der alle mit dem Gefühl der Bedrohtheit ansteckt. Die Bedeutung dieses ersten Toten für die Entfachung von Kriegen kann gar nicht überschätzt werden. Machthaber, die einen Krieg entfesseln wollen, wissen sehr wohl, daß sie einen ersten Toten herbeischaffen oder erfinden müssen. Es geht nicht so sehr um sein Gewicht innerhalb seiner Gruppe. Es kann sich um jemand handeln, der von keinem besonderen Einfluß ist, manchmal ist es sogar ein Unbekannter. Es kommt auf seinen Tod an, und sonst nichts; man muß glauben, daß der Feind die Verantwortung dafür trägt. Alle Gründe, die zu seiner Tötung geführt haben könnten, werden unterschlagen, bis auf den einen: er ist als Angehöriger der Gruppe, der man sich selber zurechnet, umgekommen.
It is the first death which infects everyone with the feeling of being threatened. It is impossible to over assess the role played by the first dead man in the kindling of wars. Rulers who want to unleash war know very well that they must procure or invent a first victim. It need not be anyone of particular importance, and can even be someone unknown. Nothing matters except his death; and it must be believed that the enemy is responsible for this. Every possible cause of his death is suppressed except one: his membership in the group to which one belongs oneself.
–Elias Canetti, Masse und Macht vol. 1, p. 152 (1960)(S.H. transl.)
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
In Havana, the past year has been marked by a parade of bold-faced names from the north — John Kerry reopening the United States Embassy; Andrew Cuomo bringing a delegation of American business leaders; celebrities ranging from Joe Torre, traveling on behalf of Major League Baseball to oversee an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, to Jimmy Buffett, said to be considering opening one of his Margaritaville restaurants there. All this culminated with a three-day trip in March by Barack Obama, the first American president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. But to those who know the city well, perhaps nothing said as much about the transformation of political relations between the United States and Cuba that began in December 2014 as a concert in the Tribuna Antiimperialista.
Estimated temperature of Hell, according to two Spanish physicists ‘ interpretation of the Bible:
The ecosystems around Chernobyl, Ukraine, are now healthier than they were before the nuclear disaster, though radiation levels are still too high for human habitation.
A TSA agent in Seattle was arrested for taking up-skirt photos of women in the airport, a Maryland police officer was arrested for taking up-skirt photos of an off-duty colleague, and the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled that taking up-skirt photos is legal in the state.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”