You know what to do.
by Mark Honey
Nebraskan Nazis are feeling brave lately.
Pamphlets from the real life Third Reich have been found recently in Little Free Libraries, the front-lawn bookshelves that encourage reading. Posters claiming it’s citizens’ “duty” to call ICE on immigrants have been posted in Benson and Dundee. An Old Market bartender recently reported seeing a group of white men hanging the Nazi flag off the 10th Street bridge and harassing passersby. In another incident, some enterprising fascist burned a large swastika in the grass at Memorial Park. What’s going on?
The reality is as sad as it is vile: the Nazis are back, again. They’re getting organized. And where fascists organize, you can be sure violence and harassment are sure to follow.
Just ask Jaime Balbuena. He came home from work one early July morning to find what he thought were eviction notices plastered on his front door. But when he came closer, he realized they were actually posters demanding US citizens call ICE on immigrants. Balbuena says his family is the only Hispanic family on the block.
“I finally turned around to look at all my neighbors’ doors and realized my house was the only one targeted with the propaganda,” he said. “I instantly felt anger, heartbroken.”
Balbuena says his family has lived in the neighborhood for more than two years, but now he feels unwelcome.
“I feared for my kids as the realization started kicking in that someone came to my house just to harass me because of my ethnicity,” he said. “I fear that the next time whoever did it comes back, it will be with something worse.”
Scaring, harassing, and eventually committing violent acts against families like the Balbuenas is exactly what fascists aim to do. Their ultimate goal is for everyone who doesn’t fit into the Aryan mold to be wiped off the face of the earth.
Dont let them get a foothold.
Nazis have a known strategy of putting offensive and shocking material in public places in an attempt to get mainstream media traction. News outlets often fall into this trap and end up interviewing the fascists, ultimately granting them a platform for recruitment. Luckily in Omaha, no stations have interviewed any fascists about these recent particular events.
This strategy is not only being implemented in Omaha, but all over the country. Take a look at the situation in Portland, where alt-right group Patriot Prayer marchers came decked out in homemade riot gear and got into full-on street brawls with counter-protestors.
Another killing in Portland came at the hands of white supremacist Jeremy Christian, who stabbed three people on a train after they tried to stop him from harassing two Muslim women. Two of the three defenders died.
Neo-nazi terror network Atomwaffen, estimated at only 80 members, has killed at least 5 people. One of the victims killed this year was Blaze Bernstein, a young gay Jewish man. His killer was a former high school classmate. Another Atomwaffen member was arrested with the radioactive compound thorium, bomb making materials, and a picture of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
Some open white supremacists in Nebraska traveled to Charlottesville last year for the infamous Unite The Right rally that culminated in a deadly car attack. While there, they actively sought to fight counter-protesters and wielded homemade shields and batons. After James Fields Jr. drove his car through an anti-fascist protest crowd, they cheered him on and rejoiced that one woman, Heather Heyer, was killed.
Allowing fascists to organize is an extremely stupid and dangerous move. The longer they are allowed to organize, the higher the chances of racist and sexist violence perpetrated by them becomes.
Balbuena knows being silent is not an option. “I feel like people need to stop being quiet when things like this happen and stand up to hate.”
It’s not a game, and it’s not in some far-away land. If we allow
fascists to organize, they will kill again. We have to stop them now. Protect your community and step in if you see fascists recruiting, organizing, or harassing others. Take pictures of them and send them to their boss. The whole rest of the world has your back. If you stay quiet and mind your own business, you might as well be on their side.