Incontrovertibly, the Germans are one of mankind’s most resourceful, resilient and progressive nationalities. In the course of world history, almost in all other aspects of human progress, civilization and accomplishment, the Germans, including their share of Jewish diaspora continue to tower above others worldwide in reckoning.However, German ascendency and footprint has also often been blighted and opaqued by its fair share of place in the remembrance of iniquitous landmarks.
Needless to re-sail deep into history. The miserable phases of two World Wars, considered by many historians as amongst the darkest events in recent history speak for themselves. Even more are the near unimaginable roles of key dramatis personae such as Adolf Hitler and his vociferously loyal lieutenants in one of mankind’s most nefarious enterprises in which between 50 million to 80 million died, including those from war related diseases. Hilter himself was a genius; perhaps one that ever walked the earth. But so were also some of his loyalists. Men of great mental faculty but of incredulous internal devilry.Of all Hitler’s main men, stood out one, named Joseph Goebbels. He lived for just 48 years and died gruesomely; a failed life. (1897-1946). Maybe explaining why his ghost has continued to find no resting place. Unlike many people today who find themselves in Goebbels” shoes, he was a first class brain who topped his classes in about top five universities. So he earned for himself strings of degrees including a PhD in Philosophy.
Again, unlike many today, still unable to grapple with syntax issues, Goebbels was also an orator, with hypnotherapical skills. He was not only fluent in his native German but also English and French languages. As a trained journalist, his pen was mighty, dwarfing the potency of even the most lethal military weapons. Finally, Dr. Goebbels was also a very strict and conservative Christian, a compassionate family man and passionately nationalist. He was also a man of good visage; appearing impeccable most of the time in products of Reich Fashion Institute supervised by his wife, Magda.
This highly gifted man was Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda. He was one of Narzism’s main idealogues and a confidant of the boss- ‘Herr Fruer’. More than any other aide, he spent quality time with Hitler every day. He was, indeed, the exponent of doctrine of “Total War”. He was a Hitler hardliner.
Amongst other things, his chiefest duty was to think, strategize, plan and execute some of the most despicable acts ever committed by any human being ever. So he was to justify and convince all that the killing of millions of defenseless Jews, annexation of other nations, the waging of war on all of humanity, and so on were proper. He was to tell lies, lies and lies, concoct, fabricate, distort, frame-up, manipulate. He was not to bother about his deep religious heritage, well accomplished academic laurels or professional worth. Even the wife, Magda and six children whom he avowed deepest love was not to matter in this job offering. But just tell lies, lies and lies and tell them brazingly.
He was not to be caught lagging but wake up daily, with new plots and tactics for lying. Similarly, he was expected to sleep and dream about new lies, as far as it advanced Nazicism and the mission of Third Reich. His most memorable quote wass “A lie told once remains a lie but a lie told a thousand times becomes truth…….. If you repeat lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself”! Very repugnant!
Did he deliver on his assignment Yes! He succeeded in destroying all men of goodwill and good conscience who opposed Hitler. Some of the country’s political leaders, judiciary, the church, intellectuals, scientist, writers, composers, artist, entrepreneurs, social critics and all good men and women who expressed restraint or liberal ilking were clamped down, framed up, put away or wasted! Evidences that appeared flawless were often waved to smear all to silence. He got many in the German nation of the time to believe, or pretend to believe in Hitler and his evil project. Every single German family paid dearly with over several million lives of its prime citizens lost in the war above other countless losses and the continued moral overhang. In reward for his demonic work, Hitler willed him with being his successor after he committed suicide on 30th April 1945. Goebbels therefore ruled Germany as Chancellor for one day from an underground bunker in Berlin.
Every profession has its hazards. So from China to Chile, Cape to Cairo, some men and women are daily tasked to perform roles similar to those of this devilish man, Goebbels that is explaining the story of governance to others. No matter how, often defend the indefensible, and expectedly do it good. Is it a hazard? Of course! Because with the calling to play such roles comes special anointing, baptism and expectation to perform. Indeed in some cases there is actual transfer of spirits and hunting by ghosts. Whose ghosts? Several, especially that of the man, Dr. Joseph Goebbels, over his unfinished work.
Afterall, he also died violently having committed suicide with his wife and all six children. His life therefore ended without a ‘nunc dimitis, requiem mass, commendation service, no “Death Match in Saul” or Christian graveside interment. Sad for a man born a Roman Catholic and was once hoped to be priest by his parents.
Must such ghosts continue to hunt, or hang-on to all people performing similar tasks? No necessarily. History, teaches us time without number, that standing up for evil never lasts long. Indeed, no matter the tasks which men have to perform, either for their daily bread, for fame or out of necessity, there is always room for moderate self censorship and tact.
One of the strongest integration tools, especially in diverse countries such as Nigeria, is positive communication at all levels. Indeed, lies and lies are the worst form of hate speech.
Maybe we can borrow a leaf from diplomatic practice. It used to be once said that “a Diplomat is a honest man sent to lie on behalf of his country abroad”. These days, that euphemism is an anachronism. Most practitioners of interstate relations, nowadays, even where core national interests are at stake, see themselves as bridge builders and projectors of positivism and well seasoned conversations.
So the era of wild, baseless communications are fast becoming an obsolescence. Do the job with
all due discretion realizing the superior thrust of nation building. And remember that all that glitters, including the high stately platforms are, afterall, just ephemeral.
Today, Germany continues to soar as one of the most advanced countries in the world and best places to live. The Germans are honest, truthful, compassionate and hardworking. The whole world toasts their industry and enterprise. Statues stand in its main city centres to celebrate the memory of its great heroes, such as Konrad Adenauer, a contemporary of Goebbels, who like many shunned the Narzist credo and later became the first post War German Chancellor. But the wicked Goebbels, who spent out his life telling lies, lies and lies is only mentioned in whispers and derision. So no matter how much his ghost continues to prowl anointing unsuspecting heirs around, including in our own country his place in history is at best odious. Because history is never the product of what we think and try to rationalise in our own words. Indeed, succeeding generations will not adjudge our lives based on how we justify our acts of today.
No. But they will objectively inveigh, evaluate and weigh our acts of today and conclude with magisterial blindness.
Perhaps a word in due season, could still be of great value to the hearer.
Dr. Igali, a Diplomat and award winning Author, is a Fellow of the Historical Society of Nigeria
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