Saturday, July 16, 2005

Troubling history

Road Trip Planner
Originally uploaded by mrlerone.
My friends know that I have never been very good in handling politically incorrect jokes. In theory I understand that humour is often an effective way of handling difficult issues but for me there is a limit.

I had drink with a friend of mine yesterday. A German friend of his friend came to the bar and stuck in our company. With that expression I mean that his presence was not exactly desired. The guy was in his early 20s (unlike we, unfortunately) and tried to be superprovocative. Well, provocation turned into being highly annoying.

He made a joke, which wasn't exactly brilliant. I said something like that it is understandable because we all know how famous German humour is internationally. This guy asked where I was from. I told him that I am from Finland. His strike back was as follows:

"Well, don't you start that with me. Without us you would not exist. Without the Germans your grandfather would not be alive and you would not be standing here."

We went totally silent with my friend. We finished our drinks quite quickly and left the bar.

I do not want to exaggerate this. It was an idiotic comment by an individual, not a statement of a nation. I was just appalled and shocked that someone could make a joke like that. I sincerely hope that it was only ignorance that will fade out when he gets older. Especially in the Netherlands - with their quite strong anti-German attitudes - jokes like that are really dangerous. This also made me think of a comment my boss made once stating that my generation is the first one without the burden of the Second World War on our shoulders.

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