Rohit Malekar

August 8, 2021

Don't Ignore the Fascists, They Won't Ignore You


This flyer was distributed at a rally at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on August 8th, 2021. It carries genocidal hate content in Hindi against Islam. You may read the entire report here.

“Hindu groups always protest against Muslims which shows their cowardice. They stay within constitutional and legal limits. This is possibly because Hindus are not capable of committing  genocide,” said one flyer titled “Islam Ka Vinaash” (Annihilation of Isam) making open call for violence. Claiming that Islam cannot be dealt with raising hue and cry, it asks Hindus to awaken and “resort to terrorism to fight terrorism”.

Why should I care? I ain't a target.

You likely have more things on your plate than to worry about a fringe group distributing objectionable content at a random protest. You may choose to ignore this thinking, "I am not the one they are after". Yet, you would be standing only a few steps away in the queue when the fascists come after an identity you hold dear. History has shown this time and again. Jason Stanley is a Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. He is the author of "How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them". He asserts,

The key thing is that fascist politics is about identifying enemies, appealing to the in-group (usually the majority group), and smashing truth and replacing it with power.

Yet, the pursuit of power knows no bounds. Often, the minorities are the first line of attack in the march of the fascists. But it doesn't stop there. Look no further than the warning of the poem on the side of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not Jewish. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”

This ain't right but what can I do?

Speak. Let the world around you know that you don't approve of this. If people you care about in your family hold similar views, try to understand where the hatred stems from. If possible, share your stance. If you are up for it, share the why. No one is born with feelings of violence towards another. So if you have someone in your life who supports this, know that you can't change them overnight. If you are too busy, write a line of protest on your favorite social media account.  If you have Muslim friends who are open to talking about this, let them know you got their back. 

Even if you do none of this, it is still fine. Spare a moment to reflect on what do you want to stand for. So that tomorrow if there is a threat to what you cherish, you are up for the challenge.

Why does this matter?

A decade ago, I would have brushed this aside and continued with my day in my privileged bubble. But, parenthood has changed a lot for me. Anything that happens around me matters more now. That is the world I would be leaving behind for my kids.

And maybe, none of this might make any difference. Maybe, everyone is too busy in their personal pursuits to care. Maybe, the fascists will keep growing stronger and win. Maybe, the world is worse than ever when I lie on my death bed. At least when my kids ask what kind of world are you leaving us behind with, I can use the few remaining breaths to say, "I tried".