I would like to share some thoughts on Günter Grass who passed away today at the age of 87. Grass is best remembered as the author of The Tin Drum. Largely on the basis of this work, Grass would earn the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999.
For decades, Grass was considered Germany’s foremost left-wing intellectual and the nation’s conscience; forcing it to confront its past with the Nazis. But it wasn’t until nearly a decade ago that Grass disclosed that he was a member of the Waffen-SS during WWII. It was a classic case of a person living in a glass house throwing stones.
And he continued to cast stones. Take Iran’s threat to wipe Israel off the map. Guess whose side he was on? In 2012, Grass wrote a poem titled “What Must Be Said” lambasting Israel for its nuclear program and Germany’s role in selling Israel military equipment. Here is a portion of it:
Why do I say only now,
Aged and with my last ink,
That the nuclear power of Israel endangers
The already fragile world peace?
Because it must be said
What even tomorrow may be too late to say;
Also because we–as Germans burdened enough–
Could be the suppliers to a crime
That is foreseeable, wherefore our complicity
Could not be redeemed through any of the usual excuses
I can’t say I’m surprised come that Grass would say not so long ago, “It’s not Islam that threatens the Federal Republic (of Germany), but political lobbying. Democracy has decayed into fake democracy.” So in the eyes of Günter Grass, if you held a point of view contrary to his own and had the temerity to advocate that point of view, he deemed you a threat to Germany. But Germans fighting for ISIS are apparently no threat at all. In other words, Grass was a standard left-wing thinker with an inverted moral universe.
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