I had seen quotes from this conversation before, but I wanted to post the whole thing because I thought it was interesting.
Gustave Gilbert, an intelligence officer, interviewed Hermann Goering at Nuremberg on 18th April, 1946.
'We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.
"Why, of course, the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."
"There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."
"Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."'
Take that as you like.
Tomorrow I am doing a presentation about Uzbekistan at my mom's work. After a volunteer ends his or her service, the Peace Corps likes it if that returned volunteer does talks or conferences and generally educates other Americans about the country they lived in. Since, for the most part, my experience was positive, I decided to do a positive talk about what makes Uzbekistan a cool place.
However, it not always is. For about a year, many of us Peace Corps volunteers followed the story of Ruslan Sharipov, a journalist who was imprisoned on trumped up charges for political reasons. Now he's escaped Uzbekistan and has asylum in the US, and lives in Sacramento. He did a report on Uzbek prisons that made me really reflect on the place I lived. Well, I suppose there's always a dark side to wherever you go, but god, how I want a regime change there.
I am a horrible friend. For days now I have not checked my email, and with the exception of the piano bar, not gone out with my friends. I have not called the people that I have meant to call nor emailed the ones that I can't call. It's not that I don't want to, because I do. I'm not really depressed or sad so that's not a reason either. I'm eating horribly too and my sleep schedule's screwed up in a million different ways.
I need some sort of structure to my life like a job or a hobby, something to do to give my life some sort of meaning. I know that most people dream of being a big lump of laziness. Not having a care in the world, just sitting around watching TV and eating junk. When I'm super busy, I wish I could be that way too. But really, a month is too much, I feel like I'm self-destructing. But I'm also carless, jobless and purposeless so there's nothing I can do about it.
So because I'm so detached, I'm taking out on the people who love me and would like to hear from me and compounding the uselessness. What's up with that?
My friend Jillian has been raving about this piano bar for weeks now, so tonight I went with her and Dave. I have to say I agree with her, it's fantastic. It's a bar with a stage where they've set up two pianos, drums and other instruments and the musicians take requests of all sorts of stuff and just play all night long. What was fascinating was the diversity of the songs that they knew how to play. There were spontaneous duets and solos as well as incredible variety which blew my mind. I mean, a piano duet of Sir Mix-a-lot's "I Like Big Butts" with a follow up of "American Pie"??
I wish I had talent like that.