Fist full of fantasies
LAST week I finally read the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion — this time without enjoying it as an unintentional satire of conspiracy lingo and more as an intentional hoax and forgery cooked up to meet some rather demagogic ends. This book (first published in Russia in 1890), is supposedly an account of a meeting involving a group of powerful Jews and Freemasons, in which both discuss ways to take over the world.
Over a span of a hundred years or so, Protocols… has evolved into becoming a kind of a Bible for conspiracy theorists, in spite of the fact that on numerous occasions its contents have been debunked and the book proven to be nothing more than an outright forgery.
The book has shaped perhaps one of the largest numbers of conspiracy theories (and theorists). And over the decades, despite being decisively deflated and becoming a joke in various European countries, copies of this conspiratorial farce are still being published (in Arabic, English, Turkish, Malay, and Urdu) in various Muslim countries.
In fact till 1975, the then Saudi monarch, King Faisal, was fond of handing copies to his guests. Most of these copies were published in Pakistan (with Saudi money) and then exported back to various Arab countries. The first Urdu translation of the book, however, began appearing from 1977 onwards.
It is interesting to note that most Pakistani or Arab Muslims who are convinced that the contents of the book deal with an actual meeting, have little or no clue about the publication history of this farce.
Either that or many of them just want to keep this history under wraps because it can clearly betray the book’s claims of being a genuine account of a real plot.
When many Pakistani or Arab conspiracy theorists update and improvise chunks of this book to explain the multiple plots being hatched against Muslims by Zionists and their western allies, they leave out the bit about how the book was first written by a Russian aristocrat, Mathieu Golovinsky in 1890.
Golovinsky got the idea from some conservative French authors and monarchists who’d been writing books blaming the Freemasons and the elusive Illuminati cult for instigating the 18th century French Revolution that overthrew the French monarchy and (for a while) abolished religion.
In 1890, Golovinsky took these ideas, replaced the Illuminati with the Jews and put them at the centre of a worldwide conspiracy to conquer the world with the help of Freemasons.
Using the French authors are citations — yes, till this day, conspiracy theorists love citing each other’s works as sources — Golovinsky describes a meeting between Jews and Freemasons in which they plot to control the press, banks and the judiciary so they could impose revolutionary/atheistic ideas (socialism, liberalism, democracy) to damage Christianity in Europe.
Till the 1920s, the Protocols… was a book being waved by groups of Christian fundamentalists and monarchists alarmed by the political and social outcome of epochs like the Age of Reason, rise of science, secular democracy and Communism.
In other words, it was being quoted by those groups that were ideologically and politically displaced by the gradual collapse of monarchism and the declining influence of the Church in Europe from the 19th century onwards.
Instead of empirically studying and understanding the changes that took shape in Europe and triggered a series of political, scientific and economic revolutions from the 18th Century onwards, the displaced lot conveniently claimed that all this was the handiwork of the Jews and their Freemason agents.
But just when it seemed the credibility of the book had suffered serious blows, a powerful, conservative American industrialist decided to express his hatred of the large number of immigrants pouring into the United States by resurrecting the Protocols…
In 1922, US car manufacturer, Henry Ford, serialised the book in one of the newspapers that he owned as a way to suggest that the Jews were using immigrant workers who were socialists and communists in factories to undermine America’s Protestant Christian work ethic.
Funny thing is that Ford was a Freemason himself, so he cleverly edited out portions in the book about the Freemasons.
The serialisation of the book was then published as The International Jew that became a big seller in places like Germany — a country whose economy had hit rock-bottom after it badly lost the First World War (WW-1).
It was The International Jew that also became the basis of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi philosophy. He used it to justify his regime’s anti-Jew policies that eventually led to the Holocaust.
To him it wasn’t Germany’s military adventurism that caused its economic collapse and humiliation after WW-1. It was the Jews and their agents i.e. the bankers, the democrats and the communists. After Nazi Germany’s defeat in the Second World War, the Protocols… and its modern version, The International Jew, found a brand new audience in Muslim countries, especially those being ruled by Arab monarchs and dictators.Confronted by their populations on the question of the creation of the Jew state of Israel (1948) on Palestinian land, many Arab rulers responded by allowing the proliferation of the translated versions of The International Jew in book stores, magazines, newspapers and even schools.
Instead of reflecting upon their own decadent dynastic politics, most Muslim governments simply explained their failures as an outcome of a complex and diabolic plot hatched against the Muslims of the world by powerful Zionists/Jews.