Voices from Russia

Monday, 15 March 2010

On the Passing of One of My Favourite Pop Stars…

Jean Ferrat (1930-2010)… the voice may now be silent, but its echo lives on in our hearts.

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On Saturday, 13 March, one of my favourite pop singers died. Jean Ferrat, who was 79, died after a long illness. M Ferrat was always faithful to his muse and was one of the most beautiful balladeers of his time. “He was a communist”… that’s true, does that make him an ogre? Today, many (if not most) of the Russian communists are believers, so, get real (there are all too many who use Orthodoxy as an apologia for unbridled capitalism… that’s wicked)!

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Always, M Ferrat stayed faithful to traditional chanson singing, which is so similar to our Russian romances. Yes, they’re sentimental and can be treacly in the wrong hands, but when they are sung by a master like Jean Ferrat, it sends tingles down to your very toes. If you have contact with the French-speaking world, you know how great a talent he was. Even President Sarkozy, a political rival, spoke his praises, saying, “With the passing of Jean Ferrat, an uncompromising creator of French song leaves us”. He also spoke of “his unforgettable songs”.

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M Ferrat embodied France just as Edith Piaf did. “His songs were anthems of resistance. He was an untiring struggler against all forms of oppression”, according to Martine Aubry, the leader of the French Socialist Party. “One of the last giants of French music is dead”, headlined the daily Le Parisien, while the Journal du Dimanche said goodbye just on its front page to a “a faithful man”.

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One of his most meaningful songs was Nuit et Brouillard (Night and Fog). His father was deported to Auschwitz and died there. I must add that if there is a despicable lot, it’s those who deny the reality of the Nazi extermination camps. They spit on the memories of the innocent dead. On the other hand, I also oppose persecuting the old coots who were guards… they didn’t order it, after all. Let them live their last years in peace.

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I mourn the passing of a great man. We’re all the poorer without his presence. Memory eternal, Jean.

BMD

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Tuesday, 15 December 2009

The Same Thing as Before: The Lessons of the War and the Holocaust

Pyotr Krivonogov. Victory! 1948

Victory!

Pyotr Krivonogov

1948

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Opposition to attempts to write revisionist history about World War II’s outcome and that glorifying fascism is inadmissible were main topics of discussion at the conference Lessons of World War II and the Holocaust in Berlin. More than 500 well-known European, Russian, American, and Israeli politicians and public figures participated in this event. This topic is particularly relevant on the eve of the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II. On the one hand, the still-fresh wounds of those terrible events are still alive to those who saw and experienced all the horrors of that time. On the other hand, there’s more than one generation that got its information about the war from history books, in which political expediency dictated interpretation of past events. Moreover, revisionist history has a forbidding quality; in it, black is white and vice versa. There are many examples of this; for instance, the Baltic states turned former SS and Wehrmacht soldiers into national heroes. A fascinating historical metamorphosis is taking place in the Ukraine, the country most affected by the fascist invaders; the state considers UPA terrorists equal to [Red Army] veterans of World War II.

Ilya Altman, a participant on the forum in Berlin, co-chairman of Russian “Holocaust” Fund, emphasised in an exclusive VOR interview that rehabilitating fascism is inadmissible, saying, “The farther away from us World War II becomes, there’s an amazing transformation in historical science and at the level of popular consciousness. There are many versions that attempt to change the true story of the war, as one can see, for example, in attitudes towards the Holocaust. It reaches a point that even very powerful politicians, such as in Iran, asserted that there wasn’t any genocide of Jews during World War II; it simply didn’t happen. In the West, in some of the republics of the former USSR, and even here in Russia, one hears those who want to whitewash Nazi collaborators. Most recently, there were attempts within the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia to canonise General A A Vlasov. However, the general’s choice wasn’t between Stalin and Hitler, or between the homeland and treason. The Ukraine and the Baltic states clearly demonstrate double standards in assessing World War II. Yes, they don’t deny that the Holocaust was factual. However, they awarded a [posthumous] decoration upon Roman Shukhevich, a man who wore a Nazi uniform {Editor’s note: Shukhevich was a Standartenführer in the SS.}. Latvia and Estonia also seem to honour the memory of Holocaust victims, but they allow public marches of former SS legionnaires. Some say, ‘Why rake up the history of war and seek the facts?’ That’s a vicious attitude! Firstly, forgotten evils tend come back. Secondly, such an attitude completely neglects those who won the victory at an incredible price over Hitler’s fascism and brought deliverance to the peoples of Europe”.

After all, Soviet soldiers hoisted the flag of victory over the conquered Reichstag, and during the Vistula-Oder operation, on 27 January 1945, the Soviet Army liberated the remaining prisoners left at Oświęcim. A UN resolution linked this date, 27 January with International Holocaust Remembrance Day. One outcome of the three-day meeting was a declaration on countering revisionist attempts to distort the history of World War II’s outcome and that glorifying fascism is inadmissible. The organisers and participants of the conference hope not only to be heard by politicians, but to rally leading anti-fascist forces on the eve of the 65th anniversary of the Great Victory.

15 December 2009

Voice of Russia World Service

Sergei Kopylov

http://rus.ruvr.ru/2009/12/15/3036583.html

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World War II Memorial at Poklonnaya Gora, Moscow. All glory to those who cleansed the world of the filth of Nazism at great personal cost. Honour the veterans who’re left… they’re precious. All that I can say is, “Thank you”.

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Editor:

Some of the most controversial things I’ve posted are those posts on the Chisinau riot and the Jerusalem church desecration. In the latter affair, a friend of mine who reads Hebrew pointed up that the Hebrew is badly written. That is, it could be a provocation… nonetheless, all sorts of troglodytes crawled out from under their rocks defending the rioters, expressing poorly concealed anti-Semitism. The fact that so-called “Orthodox Christians” (mostly konvertsy by the way, their Anglo-Saxon names give them away) peddle such rubbish disgusts me. I can’t stop you if you wish to spout such on your own websites. I believe that you should have the right of free speech as long as you aren’t making actual threats or publishing dangerous articles (such as how to make bombs, etc). However, I’m under no obligation whatsoever to give free air to those who disagree with me on this site. Why, no journalist does that. The New York Times doesn’t open its op-ed page to those who disagree with it… it’s making a point, after all. I’m doing the same. So, you disagree with me and think that I’m all wet? That’s great. Go join that long line on the left… you’re nowhere near the head of the line. You think that I’m a great gal who speaks her mind out and you agree with me? Well, join the equally long line on the right. I’m the sort of person that one either loves or hates… no one’s insipid about me. I’ll say this, I’m not going to be quiet when I see evil… if I do so, I’m an equal participant in that evil. Never forget the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller (a former U-boat captain in World War I), who survived imprisonment in a concentration camp under the Nazis:

Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Kommunist.

Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.

 

Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
habe ich nicht protestiert;
ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

Als sie die Juden holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Jude.

Als sie mich holten,
gab es keinen mehr, der protestierte.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

 

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

That is what I believe. That’s what I stand for. Hier stehe Ich… Ich kann nicht Anders!

If you have a problem with that, I suggest that you go elsewhere.

BMD

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