Thursday, August 9, 2007

Introduction to Mein Kampf

Hitler's Mein Kampf is on sale at bookstores and on the street in downtown Cairo. According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) it was first published in 1963 in Lebanon and translated by Luis al-Haj. Although there is a partial translation on MEMRI's website, it omits important passages and is therefore misleading. The following is a complete translation of the introduction by Alex Orwin. Images of the Arabic original are below (click to enlarge).

"Adolph Hitler was not just some ordinary man that the passage of time has obscured, but he scattered behind him dust that left its footprints throughout the wide world. Adolph Hitler was not merely the possession of the German people alone, but he was one of the great few who almost stopped the course of history, changed its direction, and altered the face of the world, and he is therefore a possession of history. And if indeed Hitler the soldier has not left behind him anything but legend tarnished by a tragic reality, a tragedy of a state whose dreams have been shattered, a governmental organization whose pillars have collapsed, and a party whose foundations were torn apart by the four corners of the globe, Hitler as an ideologist has left behind him an inexhaustible intellectual heritage, and this intellectual heritage includes politics, society, science, art, and war as a science and art.

"The main features of the national [wataniyya] socialism which Adolph Hitler proclaimed were explicated in Mein Kampf, and its principles were explained in speeches, both before he assumed the reins of government and during the thirteen years in which he ruled at the head of the German nation. This national socialism did not die with the death of the man who proclaimed it: indeed its seeds grew under every star, and the promoters of radical nationalism [qawmiyya] take it up as a weapon with which to combat Third Internationalism and the principles of Karl Marx. Even those who fought socialism and nationalism [wataniyya], and went to great lengths in cooperating with communism to crush Nazism, began to understand the importance of the principles which Hitler set down, even at a time when he was still struggling politically and of softer disposition, as an effective agent in stopping the extreme leftist tendency, and from their application of these principles arose dictatorships and one-party states, in which the governing party employed force, violence, and Machiavellianism in order to attain its goals.

"Whoever follows today the development of the struggle between the communist and democratic camps senses the confusion of the second camp in opposing the tendency [based] on the principles of Karl Marx, whose dissemination grew after the second world war. And [the democratic camp] has endeavoured to do this sometimes by providing financial, economic, and technical assistance to the nation, and sometimes by developing methods of organization which are parallel to the communist methods but do not imitate them. It is obvious that the efforts of the democratic camp remind us of what Hitler did to oppose the communist tendency in his country, and nevertheless we are not able to understand the true efforts of this man without grasping the principles elaborated in the book Mein Kampf, which the Nazis made the gospel of national socialism.

"The translation of Mein Kampf which we have set down before the reader has never before been presented so faithfully to Arab speakers, since it is taken from the original copy which the author Adolph Hitler composed, that is, the copy to which the hand of censorship has not been extended through editing or omission. We wish to present the opinions of Hitler and his reflections on nationalism, the organization of governments, and races without the slightest alteration, because this in an issue whose poignancy does not diminish, and because we in the Arab world continue to fumble about in the dark in these three areas."

Chris McClure

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