Mongolia graffiti, Genghis Khan, Mongolia Nazis
Mongolia graffiti, Genghis Khan, Mongolia Nazis
The Naivety of Mongolia's nazis
Following the July 1 riots a spate of repetitious graffiti began appearing on the walls of Ulaanbaatar’s buildings. Graffiti, either as an art form or used as political slander, is relatively uncommon in Mongolia’s capital city, yet this recent trend was spray-painted across buildings, on bus stations, on the walls of monasteries, over the windows of Chinese restaurants, even on national monuments.
The graffiti is the work of one of Mongolia’s right-wing organisations, the M.Y.A. (Mongolian National Group). It depicts a swastika accompanied by the party’s acronym, the word ‘Aries’, and at certain sites, the addition of sentences that vary slightly but largely translate to ‘all Chinese must die.’
This abject racism and open hostility is indicative of the nationalism currently bubbling to the surface within the country. To date, there are three ultra-nationalistic groups registered as NGOs. The most notable of these is Dayar Mongol (All or Whole Mongolia), a group that rose to prominence with the role it played in the July 1 riots; the group marched in front of a central police barracks threatening anyone from entering while attempts were made by rioters to damage and destroy the complex. Their agenda, they claim, was “to help and save people. Many people could have made a big mistake.”
Just as aggressively as the group barred the entrance to the police headquarters, waiting to expel angry and drunken rioters, so too their open hatred of immigrants, in particular the Chinese. “We hate the Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese,” the current head of Dayar Mongol calmly states in an interview, “because they do a lot of illegal things such as human trafficking, selling drugs and prostitution …
We are against Chinese influence as it’s dangerous for Mongolia’s national security.” The Asian Gypsy website writes that Dayar Mongol “also sends a warning to Mongolians working with foreigners against national interest, promising the ‘traitors will be dealt with harshly.’” Rhetoric from the M.Y.A. echoes Dayar Mongol: “The Chinese are our main enemies as they contaminate Mongolian blood by getting married to Mongolian women, and intend to assimilate Mongolians to Chinese.”
To be ‘dealt with harshly’ by one of these groups means anything from being beaten, having your shop windows repetitively smashed, being publicly spat on, to the extremity of being killed. The leader of Blue Mongol (the third of these right-wing groups), B. Enkhbat, was on trial in June of 2008 for “the suspected murder/manslaughter of his daughter’s boyfriend …
whose patriotism was questioned.” He was later found guilty. The former head of Dayar Mongol was executed for a similar crime, a crime the current leader describes as “a passing away. He fought for security and the goodness of the Mongol nation and its people.” Ola Wong from the Far Eastern Economic Review in April of 2008 highlighted another of the trio’s racial intimidations. “They
shave the heads of women caught sleeping with Chinese men.” G. Damdinsuren, a Dayar Mongol board member, justified the tactics. “It is for their own good …
A small nation can only survive by keeping its blood pure.’’
Racial hatred –and the perceived “need to keep a nation’s blood pure”- is the obvious backbone to all right-wing groups globally, and though they normally represent an extremity within society, in Mongolia, these right-wing organisations reflect the sentiment of a large percentage of the population. Ask Mongolians what they think of their southern neighbours and at best the response is one of reluctant acceptance. “To say that Mongolian’s feelings towards China borders on racism and hatred would not be an understatement,” writes a Mongolian on the Internet. In an article for the Sydney Morning Herald, John Garnaut discussed similar feelings of resentment. “Amarbayasgalan runs a small trading company that imports all manner of goods from China. He personally knows ‘some good Chinese, some bad,’ but this nuance is not widely shared among his friends.” The closely related rise of right-wing groups, he continues, “is fueling an already toxic concoction of racism, historical grievance, Chinese insensitivity and, above all, a pervading fear of economic annihilation.”
This nationalistic and anti-Chinese mindset is the reason why pro-Mongolian groups such as Dayar Mongol, Blue Mongolia and the M.Y.A. are beginning to swell in popularity. Membership is on a sharp rise,
two of the groups profess, and so are public monetary donations. “We are many,” the head of Dayar Mongol proudly boasts. There is even international support, says Murgun-Erdene, head of the M.Y.A., supplied by other neo-Nazi organisations in Russia and Germany. While financial help for Dayar Mongol has yet to come from international neo-Nazis, the relationship they have formed with their cross-border counterparts is one of “an understanding in philosophy.” The M.Y.A, however, reveals that organizations both national and international “invest in us.”
Finding funding within the nation is not a farfetched concept, yet receiving funding and support from international bodies outside of Asia seems somewhat ironic. So too does the blatant use of logos and rhetoric from Hitler and the Third Reich’s regime: either a great irony or a huge lack of education on these Mongolian neo-Nazis’ part. The head of M.Y.A. refutes the idea. “We are nationalists,” he says “because we distribute views of nationalism. In other words, we can be called Nazis. Generally, people believe that Nazis are fierce, but this is wrong. In my opinion, every country and every nation has some nationalists.” If this nationalism were purely Mongolian in form, it would make Murgun-Erdene’s statement a little easier to understand. As it is, the head of the M.Y.A. arrives at an interview wearing an Iron Cross, a hat with the SS Death’s Head pinned to its front and military fatigues; he has not donned anything that resembles traditional Mongolian attire, nor do the two ‘minders’ who accompany him.
It becomes clear during the interview that these right-wing groups have neither remorse, nor more importantly, any real idea why they use (even quasi-worship) Third Reich iconography and ideals. While the swastika, as numerous historians and authors note, has its origins in a Buddhist tradition and was bastardized by Germany’s National Socialists in the early twentieth century, the SS icons and the use of various pieces of Nazi uniform are not so easily excused.
One justification or explanation, states Murgun-Erdene when asked about the correlation between Mongolia and Hitler’s despotic Germany, is that he believes Hitler was, in many ways, a student of Chinggis Khaan. “Historically, when Hitler was reading the history of Chinggis Khaan in prison, he enjoyed the book and chose this sign as his symbol.” He also adds that the way Hitler conquered the world with his blitzkrieg was reminiscent of Chinggis Khaan’s art-of-war. Jack Weatherford, author of the best-selling history Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, does not agree. “The Secret History of the Mongols was not available in Germany until the 1940s, nearly two decades after Hitler’s imprisonment,” Weatherford said. On the similarity of ethos between the two rulers, he again disputes any similarity. “Chinggis Khaan believed in the unity of all people under heaven and in respect for all religions. In this regard I see no similarity between him and Hitler.”
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum makes interesting note of just where Mongolians stood in the eyes of the Third Reich. “The Germans carried out systematic mass killings of persons …
and systematically selected from among Soviet prisoners of war persons perceived to have ‘Asian’ or ‘Mongolian’ characteristics in order to shoot them.” In another great irony, Weatherford noted, “the Germans …
considered the Mongols as the opposite to the Germans. They taught that the existence of retarded children among the Germans was a result of the rape of pure German women by Mongols during the invasion of the thirteenth century.”
Statements such as these highlight a lack of insight into both Germany’s history and the expansion of the Mongol Empire by Mongolian right-wing groups. Propaganda such as: “We tell the young not to have close relationships with foreigners and to contaminate our Mongolian blood. We are also anti-companies and organizations which mediate between foreigners and Mongolians, and do not allow them to marry. Agitating the public is an essential way to gain people’s awareness of our activities,” does not reflect the unity and respect Chinggis Khaan is said to have extolled. “Seemingly, without a sense of what the Nazis actually did, this phenomenon is more about ‘tough guys’ viewing Hitler as a great conqueror, similar to Chinggis Khaan” a Mongolian citizen comments on their blog.
to be continued
by Kirril Shields
THE UB POST