The six wives of King Henry VIII became the subjects of music hall songs under Queen Victoria. The thousands who died from the ambitions of Napoleon receive a fraction of the interest lavished on his love for Josephine.
So it was that I opened my e mail inbox this morning to find a message from Amazon inviting me to trade in Adolf Hitler for a gift voucher. I laughed – I must admit I sat here laughing. Was there someone with a sense of humour at the Amazon time horizon of the universe? All the indications so far had been to the contrary. But there it was – I could hand in my copy of Mein Kampf and spend my reward on other goods. I had always smiled when Amazon had asked me to review this work of Hitler. I read some reviews in which serious types had taken issue with Hitler’s grasp of genetics. A few had criticised his prose style. So – these were the same guys who dish out my one star because of a misplaced hyphen on page 23.
It is true. I do have a copy of Mein Kampf. It rests on a shelf among The Bible, The Koran, Einstein’s Theory of surviving Christmas with relatives, The Communist Manifesto and a Harlequin romance novel “The Billionaire’s Secret Love Child”. Ironically, to one side of Hitler is a workshop manual for the Volkswagen Beetle and on the other the poetic works of Wordsworth.
Just imagine the fate of anyone in Nazi Germany sending back their copy of Mein Kampf. My guess is that their gift voucher would have been delivered by armed men in uniform and included a one way train ticket.
Comrades – we have come a long way. We are free to laugh. We are free to mock. We are free to know. Beyond the fragile walls of our society we know there are no gift vouchers for liberty. I’m gonna be keeping the words of the enemy on the shelf so that I’m sure to know them. The worry is what Amazon knows about me…..and who else might like to know in the future.
Emma Thinx: There’s no trade in on your conscience. It’s yours.