Crocodile Dundee, Athens, Paris, and Oslo

The Mary River, in Australia’s Northern Territory, about sixty miles from Darwin, has the largest population known, of salt water crocodiles. At a popular campground, near the Mary River, two young men ignored signs saying to stay out of the water, and swam across. They were attending a birthday party. As they returned, one of the young men, twenty four years old, was attacked by a crocodile, fifteen feet long. Witnesses were horrified at the sight of the man in the animal’s jaws, as he was pulled under water, never to be seen again. Crocodiles usually immediately drown their victims, to make their prey easier to control. Saltwater crocodiles can reach twenty three feet in length, and weigh as much as a ton. Police Sergeant Geoff Bahnert stated, “The Mary River is known, worldwide, to have the greatest saturation of saltwater crocodiles in the world. You don’t swim in the Mary River.”

Greece has seen chronic, intensely violent civil unrest for months, as austerity measures, taken by the Greek government to work through crippling indebtedness, increase citizens’ misery. Greece has the worst economy of the European Union, with record unemployment, and a sense of hopelessness growing among the people. Both the center left and center right political parties are losing credibility, and losing ground, as a third party has come from near obscurity, to gain twenty percent control of the Greek government. That party is Golden Dawn. With a reputation for likening themselves to the Nazis, even to the point of adopting very similar uniforms and emblems, Golden Dawn has recruited rogue soccer players, for the past several years, to form black shirted goon squads reminiscent of Hitler’s notorious SA. Foreigners, immigrants, non ethnic Greek citizens, and Jews have been targeted by Golden Dawn violence. Their influence, as the economy worsens, is rapidly spreading. Greek society has been likened to that of Weimar Germany. Already, pundits are whispering that the rest of Europe, itself in fragile economic state, should take heed, and be ever so cautious, as the disenfranchised turn to ultra right, white supremacist ideology.

The Greek government is striving for another bailout from the EU, this time for around ten billion Euros; this time, without further austerity measures. Yannis Stournaras stated that Greeks would not accept new austerity measures. Greece has already received two bailouts, totaling about two hundred forty Euros. Admittedly, as Mr. Stournaras has attested, this bailout request is for a far smaller amount than the prior grants. The request has not met with resounding acceptance among the EU states.

Angela Merkel has gone on record saying any further help for Greece’s ailing economy would be bad for the stability of the Eurozone. “I am expressly warning against a haircut,” she said. “It could trigger a domino effect of uncertainty, with the result that the readiness of private investors to invest in the Eurozone again falls to nothing.” Many Germans feel they have already contributed enough to European bailouts. Germany is presently showing a surplus in its economy. It is seen to be the strongest nation in Europe.

Aggravating Weimar Germany’s plight was general resentment, among Germans, for the crippling sanctions placed upon the country by the victors of World War One. Accompanying these sanctions was an overt insensitivity to the suffering of the German people, on the part of the rest of the world, not unlike Merkel’s insensitivity to the Greeks. The Nazis played upon this resentment, using foreigners, immigrants, non-ethnic Germans, and Jews as their scapegoats. Angela Merkel grew up in East Germany, under the rule of an imposed totalitarian government, economically disenfranchised, held back from the progress of the west, living in dreary old buildings, left over from the War, and dominated by the STASI. One would hope Merkel had not forgotten the price of fascism, of ethnic violence, and dictatorship. One would hope that Europe would never forget the Nazis.

Signs posted at the campground of the Mary River Wilderness Retreat warned of entering the crocodile infested water. The Mary River is known, internationally, for having the largest population of salt water crocodiles in the world. Yet, two young men, attending a thirtieth birthday party, swam across the river. They knew the risk. One died, eaten by a crocodile. Signs are posted, throughout Europe, especially in Germany, of a potential rebirth of Nazism. British nativist groups are on the rise. France is seeing a growing fascist trend. So are Holland, Norway, and Sweden. Stieg Larssen wrote from experience. Anders Brevik created that experience. Even Finland has a strong nativist movement, which threatens to dominate national politics. The Arrow Cross Party of Hungary has returned. Discrimination against ethnic Roma and Jews is on the rise. A Jobbik Member of Parliament called for Hungarian Jews to be put on lists, because they are a ‘security risk’. Despite federal legislation prohibiting it, Germany is seeing a slow, determined growth of neo-Nazi cells, throughout the country, with accompanying violence. As populations become further disenfranchised by wealth disparities and worsening economic conditions, xenophobia multiplies exponentially. Greek society has been likened to that of Weimar Germany. Greece could well provide the spark for a general conflagration. We can only hope that a majority of Europeans, and their leaders, read the signs and stay out of the water. The crocodiles are waiting. They want to be fed.

About Stefan Jacke

MagicRobert presented me with a vellum document, composed in an insane script. We were in a well secured vault in the Michener Library. His face exploded into a broad smile, as he saw me recognize the words, "That government governs best which governs least." It was a copy of "On Civil Disobedience" in the author's own hand. The experience called to mind a conversation Henry David Thoreau had with Ralph Waldo Emerson, as Thoreau sat in a jail cell, incarcerated for protesting the Mexican War. Emerson asked, "David, what are you doing in there?" Thoreau responded, "The point is, Ralph, what are you doing out there?" Once, long ago, I jumped off of big red trucks, lifted weights, and cleaned toilets for a living. Then I wrestled drunks, ran around in circles, and got splattered with blood and all manner of body fluids for a living. Now I enjoy the stillness of early morning in my rocking chair on the porch, with a hot cup of coffee, trying in vain to forget the past. Thank you, Robert!
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