Genre of the Week: The Fire Within by Sophie Scholl

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Author’s note: Due to the 25th Anniversary of German Reunification festivities and the number of articles pertaining to this theme on the way beginning next week, the Files is posting a Genre of the Week profile for the coming week, which serves as a little food for thought as the weekend before the celebration comes.

Society must be equal. But equality in this case has nothing to do with the gap between the rich and poor. It has more to do with checks and balances. One power strives to take control of our resources and our lives, yet even if we are conquered, there are many of us who take the effort to fight back and set the boundaries- showing them where not to cross. Countries have tried seize the natural resources of others at their expense, only to fail because of resistance, either as one nation or in case one leader falls, guerilla warfare, protests and even standing trial in front of the conquerer’s leader. Sometimes we need this equilibrium- enemies, archrivals, even the simplest counterpart in order to stop the conquest and greed, as well as leave the society of others alone. Without that balance in power, people become displaced, as seen in a previous article written, seek comfort of other countries and regions that are willing to do the work that their home country failed doing because of the lack of power to resist.

When Adolf Hitler seized power in 1933, many Germans fled the country for fear their freedom of expression would become ashes through the Holocaust. Those who stayed and tried resisting his regime were arrested and executed. This was proved by the Night of Long Knives on 30 June- 2 July, 1934, where the Nazis purged various offices and homes and arrested many people Hitler claimed as enemies of the Third Reich. Although the official number of people killed by the raids was 85, other sources claimed over 100. This included Fritz Gerlich, a journalist who wrote about the dangers of Hitler before being arrested and later killed in Dachau.

Yet still, we keep fighting for our right and try to put the government in its place, showing it that we need this checks and balances- this democracy of/by/for the people and not for the select few, a society that is not dystopian but equal with the right to express ourselves within the comfounds of regulations enforced by law. And this is where The Fire Within, our genre of the week comes in. Written by Sophie Scholl, the narrative, written before her execution in 1943, shows how many of us try to have our own living, even if it means fighting for it. Each of us has a way of dealing with our environment- through silence or through action. Yet, as she describes it in detail with a comic strip drawn by Zen Pencils, our actions do have one consequence in the end, but it is for one purpose. Society needs equilibrium in order for the country to have its own checks and balances; in order for society and the government to co-exist peacefully.  More on this here:

Quote from Sophie Scholl; Link to strip:

To end this profile, here is a question worth asking: If Nixon visits China and Willi Brandt visits Erich Honecker, then for what purpose? Is it for the purpose of making peace or for the pursuit of power and if so, in what way? Who benefits and who loses in the deal? Comparing that time period (the 1970s) with the current situation in the present (and this includes intervention from outside), one can ask if we are happy with our own surroundings and what the government is doing for us (and for the people immigrating here for a better life as well), or if not, what we need to do to improve the situation. And if so, how…..  Have a look at your own surroundings tonight, after reading this, and ask yourself if and how we can make these changes…..

More on Sophie Scholl and her life and involvement in the White Rose Movement can be found here.

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