Category Archives: gas chambers

Gas chambers in Gaza

José Saramago: grotesque obtuseness

José Saramago: grotesque obtuseness and moral cretinism

The Portuguese Hobsbawm

Dalrymple reports that when José Saramago drew a parallel between the plight of the Palestinians and Auschwitz, a journalist asked whether there were gas chambers in Gaza. Saramago replied:

I hope this is not the case. There are so many things being done that have nothing to do with Nazism, but what is happening is more or less the same.

Dalrymple’s comment:

Quite apart from its startling lack of intellectual clarity, Saramago’s reply implies that there might be gas chambers in Gaza, and also that their absence would be a minor detail: Auschwitz and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians are essentially comparable. The comparison is odious, shameful, wicked, and stupid in equal measure.

Tannhäuser with gas chambers

John Podsnap

John Podsnap

Burkhard C. Kosminski’s production, staged by Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf Duisburg, elicited this remark from James Kennaway, described as an historian:

While Wagner has questions to answer in relation to the Third Reich, a degree of subtlety would help.

Dalrymple’s comment:

Mr Kennaway presumably meant that Wagner was an important figure in a nasty intellectual (or at any rate ideological) tradition that, in the event, led to Nazism. True, but he was also something else; and in any case this is not the same as ‘having questions to answer,’ a formulation that combines the inexactitude of the pub bore with the moral self-examination of Mr Podsnap.