Leaving Jordan, I ordered a Turkish coffee from the comfortable looking counter-and-chairs cafe at the entrance of Queen Alia Airport. As he stirred, the barista launched into a long account of his extra-curricular activities: listening to music, reliving the glory of the Third Reich, and playing in a cover band in his friend Rashid’s garage.
He loved languages, too. French, he spoke as a resident of the outer reaches of a Francophone mandate. English, he’d taught himself in just three years from books and television. Italian, he wanted to learn because it is as beautiful as the women who speak it. And German.
“Why German?” he bid I ask him.
I hazarded: “Tons of German tourists. And you’ll learn easy — it’s like English.” Wrong.
“I love Hitler!”
This is when I started recording, furtively, on my phone. Listen below, and/or follow along with our fragmented negotiations about the actuality of certain facts, and my sad, scant accounts of ancient history.
NB: … I think myself he is true.
A: He’s true?
A: How do you mean ‘he’s true’?
NB: ‘Heil Hitler’. [laughs]
A: What do you mean? Well yeah, but there are a lot of people that do terrible things but that doesn’t make them… good guys
NB: Ah okay. Like you… — I love a strong man, okay.
NB: Yeah. It’s a strong man, this will be a good man for the future. Because… I have a lot of things for the Hitler, okay. I read it, what Hitler [—] listen all the [—], get [—] for him. I love that.
A: But there are lots of strong men —
NB: — yeah it’s a strong man
A: — that are not mass murders.
NB: But I love him! Everybody here ‘why you love Hitler?’ I love Hitler! [laughs]
A: But he — but he was killing people, you know.
NB: — okay, okay…
A: — like children, and people that did nothing.
NB: Not children.
A: Tons of children. [pause] Oh, tons of children.
A: Babies, children, everyone.
A: You know in Germany they had these camps, they just took entire families sent them [—]. The only people that lived were the guys that could work and most of them died anyway.
A: But men were kept alive to like, you know —
A: — work, but babies, children, women, oh my god —
NB: Okay I know.
A: That can’t be good.
NB: I know. That’s, that’s point is — not good for him.
A: That’s one thing against him, yeah.
NB: That’s one — Just one, that’s one —
NB: That’s a point that’s not good for him. It’s a [—] not good for, the world is hate him because that’s point.
A: Well, it’s —
A: It’s — it’s a big one.
A: There aren’t many bigger points to make about a person —
NB: [laughing] yeah —
A: — than that they kill women and children
NB: Yeah, but he’s when — have like a king is very — very cool [—]
NB: And like a king is very good. Cause he’s strong man. I love him!
A: But the you know like Alexander the Great, you know, big guy — he did some debatable things —
A: — you know — there’s, there could be some problems, but still really strong and did some also amazing things.
NB: Don’t kill anybody, don’t kill anything.
A: Yeah he did kill people — so that’s not great. But he also expanded culture and you know, made the world a, a you know —
NB: Like a mixing for…
A: Mixing was good, yeah.
A: Hitler wasn’t so much about the mixing or the sharing, it was kinda like —
A: — let’s get — like, he wouldn’t — you might’ve like — he wouldn’t’ve liked you though.
A: He wouldn’t’ve — I don’t think he would’ve been friends.
NB: It’s hot or cold?
A: It’s hot, it’s great coffee.
A: Yeah, it’s really good.