Now that I am back in the states I feel like it might be time to talk about the neo-nazis in Mongolia. There are two confusing parts to this. First, Swastikas are a traditional Mongolian symbol. They are everywhere, including religious sites. It is often hard to tell what they mean.
Second, traditional Nazi ideology does not line up completely with what the xenophobic nationalists are trying to get at. The Mongolians like the ideas of nationalism, racial purity, and xenophobia. They also reinterpreted the master race idea to be about them, since, of course, Mongolians conquered the world and can totally do it again. It should be noted that the feeling of Mongolian superiority was not limited to the xenophobic groups. Many Mongolians would be nice and helpful, and explain whatever you were having trouble with, but then tell you that Mongolian children do it better, or that a Mongolian would wrestle despite his broken wrist. Then they would double their prices for you.
While most Mongolians would either ignore or smile at me, their reaction was usually positive. It was rare to see a person randomly make rude gestures at me, but it did happen every now and then. The rare rude individual would often punch or shove one of the men in our group, say something really unpleasant, make some rude gestures, and leave.
I got punched in the head on a bus. It was a bit surprising.
Nationalistic xenophobic groups gain power as people because disillusioned with the other ineffectual political parties, and feel threatened by foreign powers. In modern Germany Nazis have gained a fair amount of power by suggesting Germany abandon the Euro. In the US, the Tea Party…. well that’s another story.