Monday, May 10, 2010

Reconciliation, or 'Is there an end to the War?'

Last Friday's 'Shuster Live' programme entitled 'Is there an end to the War?' was, even by Ukrainian standards, one of the most depressing items I have seen for a long time.

The representative studio audience was asked a simple question:

"Do you want reconciliation to take place between OUN-UPA and veterans of the Soviet Army ?

Overall, 72% were in favour. Regionally, amongst those from Western Ukraine it was 90% in favour, Eastern Ukraine 59%, Central Ukraine 83%, and Southern Ukraine 55%.

The population well understands the dreadful paradoxes and dilemmas Ukraine faced in WW2. The parents of brave Soviet soldiers, including millions of loyal Ukrainian soldiers, had died a decade earlier in the Stalin-induced famine or during Stalin's Great Terror. Many thousands of Ukrainians from Halychyna, which had been 'liberated' by Stalin as part of a deal with Hitler in 1939, also fought in the Red Army. Thousands of their brothers served in the Werhmacht even though their families had frequently been brutally treated by the Nazis. Millions of their brothers and sisters had also been deported to Germany as slave labour, and having survived allied bombing raids, when they returned were treated appallingly by the authorities for 'betrayal of their country' - sometimes to be treated as slave labour yet again. And during the years immediately after the war, often forgotten by many, the entire country collectively endured near famine too while other parts of the Soviet Union fared rather better.

But in Shuster's studio Dmytro Tabachnyk, minister of education, Communist party leader Petro Symonenko, who are now part of the ruling coalition, as well as some members of the opposition did everything possible to reduce any possible chance of reconciliation. The ministers' aim was to simply demonise anyone who did not follow their simplistic orthodox, half-truthful Soviet line.

The programme starkly revealed that the differing attitude to WW2 and Stalin's leadership, between what can loosely be called eastern and western Ukraine, lies at the dark heart of political conflict in the country.

Reconciliation processes have had some measure of success in other countries e.g. in South Africa, Northern Ireland, Spain and elsewhere. It is vital that such processes start take place in Ukraine if there is to be a better tomorrow.

The nonchalant or malicious attitute of current ministers to the reconciliation favoured by the population, and e.g. to the erection of statues of Stalin in today's Ukraine, shows how little they care about this. Former president Kravchuk correctly pointed out the absurdity of today's Communists' actions when over 50 years ago Stalin had been denounced by the party which he headed, by peers that were first-hand witnesses of his crimes.

"There is at least one common denominator to all...approaches to reconciliation. They all are designed to lead individual men and women to change the way they think about their historical adversaries. As a result, reconciliation occurs one person at a time and is normally a long and laborious process....Reconciliation matters because the consequences of not reconciling can be enormous."


elmer said...

Well, I did it again - I made the mistake of watching the Friday marathon Savik Shuster show - except this one was the longest one yet.

Some of Savik's shows are excellent - but I have a different take on this one from you.

This one was really, really extremely bizarre.

Part of the reason is that when Ukrainians talk, they have a lot of psychological baggage. Part of the reason is that when Ukrainians talk, they don't stick to the issue.

Part of the reason is that when Ukrainians talk, they "argue by implication."

Part of the reason is that Ukrainians are incredibly long-winded and repetitive, repeating the same thing over and over again, and saying the same thing over and over again - you get the picture.

Part of the reason is that Ukrainians would rather argue than to actually do something or solve problems - much better to have a 65-year argument, than to move on and figure out how to make things better and live a good life. Arguing is fun!!!

And part of the reason is that, in typical Ukrainian bass ackwards fashion, they keep asking the wrong questions.

(In order not to run over the word limit, I'm going to divide up my comment).

elmer said...

As I said, this was an extremely bizarre show - Savik really stepped in it this time, and it showed, because he had out-of-control guests not only in the studio, but also in Sevastapol and Lviv.

The veterans of UPA and the Red Army, last time I checked, were a bunch of old people. As far as I can tell, there is no war going on between them. What more could one ask for? Hugs and kisses on a daily basis? I don't think so.

Rather, there is a war going on between politicians. And the enormous psychological baggage overlaying all of this is --- sovok propaganda. It is so bad, it is so pervasive, that you can smell it.

If you saw the people in Sevastopol, when they were asked whether they live in Ukraine by Mustafa Nayem (an excellent journalist), their answer was that they view themselves as citizens not of Ukraine, but of Sevastopol - a Russian city.

Nestor Shufrych, a horribly odious insect, fed on that - claiming that Sevastopol is a glorious "slavic" city and he is proud that it is on Ukrainian territory (it's where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is based).

So there was the spectacle of politicians once again shouting about history, referring to the Nuremberg trials, making accusations about Bandera as a "fascist", and giving credit to --- Stalin - because - get this - the "victory" of the sovok union happened on his watch.

Never mind that stalin did not know what he was doing. Never mind that stalin never sacrificed anything - except Russian and Ukrainian soldiers.

The sovok propaganda was that stalin was the great victor of the "Great Patriotic War," and - victory happened on his watch, so stalin is OK.

Very, very twisted logic.

Lots of very, very twisted logic.

Especially from Tabachnyk, who has learned to make distinctions without a difference, and then pretend that they are significant.

And then there was Tina Karol, who is very pretty, and has a wonderful voice - too bad she was singing all of those stupid "Great Patriotic War" songs about smoking cigarettes.

This was a horrible waste of time. I felt like taking a shower after I saw it. I did take a shower after I saw it.

Savik himself doesn't seem to buy the sovok propaganda any more - but why the heck do a show based on combating sovok propaganda?

Especially when you know that there are twisted idiots like Symonenko and others that will waste your time, and everyone else's, spouting and spewing it?

Watching paint dry is much more productive.

elmer said...

Here is an example of Tabachnyk's lunacy - distinctions without a difference.

"What was put up in Zaporizhia was not a monument to stalin - it was only a bust of stalin"

Well, Mr. Tabachnyk, I will hit you over the head with stalin's bust, and you tell me if it feels any different from a stalin monument.

There are a few good things that I saw in the program:

- young politicians, very, very sharp, very bright, like Irena Herashchenko, and Irena Herasimyuk, and Kirilenko, and even Taras Chornovil, who walked out of the program because he did not see the point of politicians arguing about military veterans and history; they will not be fooled by sovok relic propaganda and lies, and they are very articulate - they have facts at their command, and they know how to express themselves

- former President Leonid Kravchuk, who brings a sense of civility, intelligence, and eminent humanism, historical perspective and reasonableness - but in Ukraine, the thugs from the Donbass Mafia don't respond to that