Patrick Lawrence Russia-Ukraine

Patrick Lawrence: Why Do Nations Erase the Past?

FILE PHOTO. Numerous new, old and partly weathered gravestones in the area of the international war gravesite at the Ohlsdorf cemetery. ©  Jonas Walzberg/picture alliance via Getty Images

By Patrick Lawrence / Original to ScheerPost

A recent  report by the German news agency DPA has had me thinking ever since about various small, inconsequential matters: war, nationalism, identity, history, memory. It seems the people who manage the German gravesites of those who fell fighting the German army during World War II propose to draw distinctions among the Red Army’s dead buried in German cemeteries. They will no longer be designated simply “Soviet” or “Russian,” as has been the practice until now. If a Red Army soldier came from Ukraine—which was a Soviet republic during World War II and for 46 years afterward—they will now be written into the record as “Ukrainian.” 

“We’re starting to differentiate,” Christian Lübcke, who directs the Hamburg chapter of the German War Graves Commission, said in an interview the DPA published November 14.

Let me try to get this straight. Red Army soldiers who fought the Third Reich as Soviet citizens are to be retroactively assigned an imagined nationality if they came from the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic? How does that work?


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No one other than the German wire service and RT, the Russian equivalent of the BBC, appears to have covered the story. Maybe most media judged it of little consequence. Or maybe a development such as this, discriminating among the bones of soldiers and prisoners of war 75 years dead on the basis of a distinction that did not exist until 1991, came over in most newsrooms as too preposterous, too embarrassing, to write about.

In explaining himself, Lübcke cited the war in Ukraine and a Russian civil society group, the Immortal Regiment, that honors the Red Army soldiers who died in the Great Patriotic War, as Russians call World War II. The Soviet Union’s sacrifices as it defeated the Nazi regime–more than 20 million perished–are, of course, a big deal for Russians every Victory Day, May 9. But Lübcke objects that the Immortal Regiment, when honoring Soviet graves at one of Hamburg’s cemeteries, exhibits “nationalistic and partly historical revisionist undertones”—a strange thought, as I will consider shortly.

The numbers involved are not large. Red Army soldiers who died in battle or in Nazi POW camps come to roughly 1,400 out of 62,000 war dead in Hamburg’s various cemeteries. Their graves were all marked Soviet or Russian when they were buried—properly enough, given that is what they were. I cannot quite tell from the German reporting what Lübcke now has in mind–whether he proposes to alter cemetery documents or to alter the documents and chisel new gravestones. But it is clear he intends to impose a falsified past  on those Soviet fallen who came from the Ukrainian republic. He also wants to go national with his idea.

Preposterous, yes, and embarrassing, yes again. But this is why it is also extremely important to consider what causes an organization dedicated to honoring war dead to think it is right to impose an ahistorical distinction between some sacrificed lives and other sacrificed lives when they fought side by side in the same army to defeat their common enemy. What sentiments, what political forces, what propaganda project, animate this stunningly disrespectful proposal? What ideological drive causes Christian Lübcke to pimp dead soldiers who, were they alive, would have no idea of the point he wishes to make?

I recall posing similar questions back in June 2015, when John Kerry and other Allied leaders joined veterans from their armies on the Normandy beaches to mark the 70th anniversary of D–Day and the impending Nazi defeat. Obama’s secretary of state thought nothing of speechifying grandly about the heroes of the war while pointedly excluding the Russians from the ceremonies. Kerry et al. had by then refused to attend the May 9 events in Moscow marking the same anniversary. Considering the very essential role and exceptional sacrifices the Red Army made to the Allied cause, this seemed to me a bottomlessly shameful thing to do.

All that was a year after the U.S.–cultivated coup in Ukraine, we should note—a year into Washington’s strategy of using the regime it installed in Kyiv as the front edge of its campaign to threaten the Russian Federation up to its western frontier.

By then I had heard the old Soviet joke many times, as some readers may have. The future is set, Soviet citizens used to say. It is the past that is always uncertain. This was a reference to all the airbrushing of photographs, the rewriting of texts, and the corrupting of archives that went on during the Stalin years.

Taking my date from the exclusion of Russian veterans and officials from the Normandy ceremonies, we have watched these past seven years as the West has become more and more Soviet in its disrespect and abuse of the past. Since the Russian intervention in Ukraine last February, this kind of inexcusable conduct has been rampant—made all the worse as Western leaders and institutions indulge in it with no compunction, no conscience, and certainly no embarrassment. It is as if human history and the historian’s discipline are deserving of no common respect and so are available as an instrument to revile others, or airbrush them out of the picture.

Last summer Latvia demolished the largest Soviet-era monument in Riga, the capital, commemorating the victory over Nazism—this as the Russian-speaking minority had to stand by and watch. Estonia soon followed suit, an exercise in its case involving hundreds of statues and other sorts of memorials. Kaja Kallas, the Estonian prime minister, explained it this way: “It is clear that Russian aggression in Ukraine has torn open wounds in our society that these communist monuments remind us of, and therefore their removal from public space is necessary to avoid additional tensions.”

I have no clue what Kallas meant with these remarks. They appear simply to reflect muddled thinking, or none. No clear thought, no clear language, I always say. So we have Christian Lübcke explaining that his obviously nationalist and historically revisionist desire to vandalize history by falsifying records and–again, I cannot tell–chiseling new gravestones is to be done in the name of opposing nationalism and historical revisionism. We have Kaja Kallas ripping wounds into the Latvian body politic in the name of salving wounds.

To state the obvious, we have to look further than Christian Lübcke, Kaja Kallas, and other such officials overseeing these projects to understand their point. And so I return to those stray thoughts I mentioned earlier, having to do with nationalism, identity, history, and memory.

Ernest Renan, the French historian, biblical scholar, philosopher, philologist, critic, and so on—people did a lot of different things before our civilization packed knowledge into silos—delivered a lecture at the Sorbonne in 1882 that has come down to us and is still quoted from time to time. He called it Qu’est-ce que une nation?—“What Is a Nation?” Among its notable passages is this:

“Forgetting, I would even say historical error, is an essential factor in the creation of a nation…The essence of a nation is that all of its individual members have a great deal in common and also that they have forgotten many things.”

Renan had particular reasons for advancing these surprisingly forthright thoughts. By the 1880s, France was busily making itself a modern nation. Its regional identities and dialects—Brittany and Breton, Alsace and Alcacien, Occitanie and Languedoc, and so on—were pre-modern impediments to the project. They had to be subdued and over time removed from the national discourse, as if they were undesirable statues.

I have always found Renan’s thoughts on nationality disagreeable and diabolically true all at once. It leads us to the essential point of all the official erasures and disfigurements I have mentioned and the many more I have not. It is that histories are very often destroyed in the creation of nations and identities.

What was the point of all the old airbrushing and erasing of the Soviet Union, especially, but I gather not only, during the Stalin years? It was to construct a national story with very clean, easy-to-read lines having to do with an imaginary version of socialist harmony with which Soviet citizens could identify.

What were Kerry and the other Western leaders present in Normandy seven years ago—French, British, German, Polish, and so on—trying to accomplish? They proposed to give their peoples a version of World War II that was compelling, inspiring of national pride, and—greatly above all—devoid of the true past, the past wherein Russia and Russians were decisively present.

This is the West’s shared project now, one that rests to an unfortunate extent on forgetting. I take some comfort from the voice of Katharina Fegebank, Hamburg’s deputy mayor, who spoke on Volkstrauertag, Germany’s day of national mourning, which fell this year on November 13:

“It is our task today and every day to think of these and millions of people who have fallen victim to war and violence. We stand together here to stand up for peace and freedom, against racism, anti-Semitism and exclusion.” 

Will the Katharina Fegebanks of our time prevail against the forgetting that is effectively being forced upon us, we of the West? This is our question, and I would rather not answer it just now.

In Ernest Renan’s day, a Breton or a speaker of Languedoc was supposed to become no longer a Breton or an Occitanie but a Frenchman or Frenchwoman. This project, which was in some respects forced, was a very long one and was at times bitter and bitterly resisted. In 1975 a writer and actor named Pierre–Jacques Hélias published a very fine memoir about the Breton identity, Le cheval d’orgueil, in English The Horse of Pride. It is filled with affectionate sentiment for a world that had been but was, by then, no more. Hélias wrote as a Frenchman, in French: This was in its way the unwritten coda to his story, if I read the book correctly.

The forgetting of our time is of a different order, it seems to me. It is much more insidious. The objective is to create a new consciousness, as it was in Renan’s time, but in our 21st century case this is to be done by way of a radical narrowing of our minds, a radical impoverishment of thought in the name of a neoliberal hegemony, in this way a radical stripping away of possibilities, a radical confinement within the walls of another bifurcated world order wherein neither side can see over these walls into the other side. In this world, if we collectively accept it without resistance, the future will be set and the past always uncertain.


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Patrick Lawrence
Patrick Lawrence

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a media critic, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon siteHis Twitter account, @thefloutist, has been permanently censored without explanation.

29 comments

  1. I love how a quite obscure report from a German news agency works its way into the pondering mind of a journalist of (actual) integrity, and how that journalist weaves it into the larger context of our time. From our founding, we have always been masters of rewriting our own history, which has masterfully nurtured the ignorant nationalism that drives our perverted “national security” and the wars and madness generated in the cause of defending our “democracy.” (I’m hard pressed to see how Stalin was any worse in this regard, and perhaps learned from our “air-brushed history.) Mr. Lawrence rightly concludes how the West’s 21st century methods works to create a new consciousness all for the sake of neo-liberal hegemony.

    1. It is interesting that in taking down all the Confederate soldier’s statues we are missing an opportunity to instead place plaques below them telling the true story of their atrocities. This seems an inadvertent erasure and a curious twist on forgetting and forging a national image.

  2. Yes, the language we use is important and determinant.
    We should take a great deal of care about what we say; and project a great deal of suspicion about what “they’d” like us to believe.
    Except for wearing a “suicide belt” (outsized nuclear armaments as well as potentially explosive speculative finance) the United States is not relatively powerful. If our policies demonize anyone who opposes our hegemony, or even questions it, then those parties soon escalate and become real threatening enemies. Uncle Sam is frequently seen as irrational and murderous (sometimes in service to great wealth, other times not, but just psychotic).
    Sometimes we’re like the confused hater shooting partiers in a gay bar. Somebody will (and probably should) step up and bash our head with our own assault weapon. Boastful and crazy talk itself puts the speaker in jeopardy because we’re social creatures. I’d conclude that the instability of historic memory jeopardizes our future. Never forget that. (Patrick Lawrence has transcended journalism and is now excelling as political philosopher. Thanks.)

    1. The interesting part about your comment is that those who have actually been reading history throughout their lifetime, can not suffer from an ‘instability of history’. History can be changed and erased when it is an official history, stored in books and on dusty shelves. These can be shoved down the Memory Hole and rewritten. But when one is Winston Smith and the knowledge of history resides within your own head, then it is tamper proof and stable.

      Of course, it is way too late for a ‘West’ that has scorned the reading and study of history throughout my lifetime to now suddenly find that stable history within its own memory. Of course, this means that only a small handful of nerds, who actually liked history, and who read history books beyond those approved by the Texas Board of Education, can sit and look at this insane nation from the viewpoint of a stable knowledge of history.

      For the rest of you, who laughed at the nerds in school, you’d better start reading. The best books will be the ones you need to rescue from a bonfire. Although, these days, the bonfires are more likely to be electronic than created from a stack of paper and bindings.

    2. I agree with R.H.. Lawrence does a nice job of infusing his journalism and history with philosophy…. Absent that third element, the first two seldom rise above propaganda.

      Most American writers today are nervous about exceeding the comprehension of a two dimensional audience…thick and shallow.

  3. This is the most thoughtful and thought-provoking essay that I have seen in a long time. What, indeed, is a nation? It is not a thing but rather a notion that applies to a group of people who share a language, customs, and history. Is it good to have separate nations, or should we strive to all be part of one gigantic world nation?

    What is history? Is it an objective science, describing all the relevant historical facts related to a population such as Europe, Asia, or Africa? If so, how shall the facts be sorted, except by their relevance to particular nations? In which case, history is part of each nations culture: a origin story that describes how the nation came to the present point in time, told in a way that is culturally satisfactory. But then, the histories of different nations will necessarily be different, according to the differences between nations.

    On the other hand, if history is really an objective science, who can define the proper perspective of the history? Without some perspective as to the causal historical relationships, history would become a sort of stamp-collecting, or as if one sought to describe a mountain by measuring all of the rocks. A mere collection of plain facts, which is plainly unsatisfactory.

    I can recognize some of the problems in having a national identity, and at the same time I am repelled by the prospect of an anti-national globalism that would, by definition, remove every aspect of national identity or at least reduce it to superficial ornamentation. I see in that vision a global population of humans who lack any historical rooting or cultural identity, and who thereby become vulnerable to the most obscene imaginations of their rulers. Who would, without hesitation, eradicate all human history, as they would correctly recognize it as a primary threat to their hold on power.

    That is pretty much the situation we now experience in America, and it is exactly what Orwell and Huxley warned of in their complementary dystopic visions published almost a century ago. And I believe that a good portion of the alienation and unhappiness in America is connected to a loss of the positive attributes of national culture, which have been corrupted and hollowed out by the never-ending hunger for profit-making and material goods in the present socio-economic system.

    Kudos to Patrick Lawrence, and gratitude to ScheerPost for hosting.

  4. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana

    If your political goal is to profit, for yourself and friends, from repeating the mistakes from the past, then of course history, and even the memory and credibility of history must be erased.

  5. It’s interesting – regarding the malleability of history, supposedly a “chronicle for the ages”, it is written, rewritten, denied, forgotten, or ignored, each in the service of the zeitgeist of the day. So what is the job of a “historian” – to pick and choose which of these aspects of history (s)he will engage in? Or, by definition, does any history, written or otherwise, perforce include aspects of all of the above? Is it perhaps not entirely illegitimate to ask of each “history” – who benefits? and what cause is benefited?
    Mr Lawrence is right on target focusing on “identities” – in the human sphere, any identity short of “human being”, whether of “race”, religion, “gender”, sexual orientation, nationality, ethnicity, class, etc. is bound to clash with a different identity, with comparisons inevitably made on many “scales from 1 to 10”, and these days “identities” seem to be multiplying like rabbits. It is interesting that now some seem to be talking about “intersectionality” of these identities, as though a still inchoate recognition is setting in that perhaps focusing on all these separate identities is not serving us well – I think perhaps we can recognize the absurdities that Mr. Lawrence points out in this piece re Ukrainian v Russian “identities” – can we extend that to a recognition of how all “identities”, short of human, are in reality, taken to the extremes they are now, are also absurd. How soon will we, or will we ever, all simply identify as human beings, and realize that our “essence” does not lie in our “race” or gender, or etc., etc., but our common humanity – that a wrong is a wrong not because it is being done “disproportionally” to one group or another, but because it is being done to ANY human being, and get on with the business of facing the real threats to our existence – right now we are fiddling with identities while our planet is burning and our existence as Earthlings of all “nationalities”, “races”, “genders” and other nonessential identities hangs in the balance ..

  6. Again I thank Mr. Lawrence for one of the most insightful and important articles I’ve read. This article must have taken serious thought and re-writing, as this is a complicated subject. The effort is appreciated.

    I will take issue with one passage: “the West has become more and more Soviet in its disrespect and abuse of the past”. A saying I remember in discussions of the Soviet Union: After five years the greatest revolution in human history was left with no effective soviets or unions. The west did not become ‘soviet’. Stalin became more like the west.

    A point of reminder that would have been ignored by Mr. Kerry in his disparagement of WW2 history: Ronald Reagan and Helmut Kohl visited the graves of Waffen SS soldiers and issued solemn praises in their memory in the 1980’s. The western ruling classes have not forgotten history. Too much of the public has ignored the profound immorality of its ruling classes and the system they represent.

  7. The irony of these revisionist activities, including the exclusion of Russia from the 2015 D-Day commemorations is that they are in support of an out and out Banderite Nazi regime in Ukraine. Mindless to say the least.

    George Galloway interviews Larry Johnson – more on the Nazi connection

    https://youtu.be/D7sKK7ad8nM

  8. “it may be dangerous to be our enemy but it is fatal to be our friend”. Henry Kissinger….the EU is now recognizing reality

  9. TP Graph and Red Hornet: You said it very well as my sentiments are quite similar. Total disrespect by the decadent, war-like West for in not honoring the tremendous sacrifice and the biggest holocaust of WW2, the slaughter, both military and civilian, of Russians and non-Russian Soviet citizens, allies of the “West” which we soon turned on, at war’s end.

    How many Amerikans and Europeans ever heard of General Zukov of the Soviet Red Army?”
    But then we know it was John Wayne and Van Johnson who defeated the “superman” of the Third Reich, right?
    And Red Hornet, your last sentence (Patrick Lawrence has transcended journalism and is now excelling as political philosopher. Thanks.) is quite admirable and a well-deserved praise and tribute to Patrick’s dedication to honest reporting, and above that, compassion for his fellow human beings, as a bearer of Light (Truth) in his many articles and books over the years.

    Thank you Mr. Lawrence for your courage, integrity, and Thank You Mr. Scheer for publishing P.L’s. articles!

  10. Once again thank you Patrick for exposing the abysmal ignorance in our leaders and people of history. The leaders and majority like sheep drink the Kool-Aid of demonization, hatred, and easy solutions of war and a massive arms industry. In education we emphasize math, science, and business over art, history, theology and what do we get cogs and widgets ready to fit into the capitalist war machine rather than thinkers and humanitarians. Where are the elders today with wisdom to lead and guide? Ancient cultures had revered elders who functioned as leaders to inspire youth to create a better world. What do Biden, Macron, Trudeau, et al offer? Sadly a devastated planet and endless war! Shame!

  11. The rewriting of history is already going on. Many of my neighbors, friends, & family have no memory of recent events, let alone past events. History is complex and muddy, as the real story is a competition between competing ideas.

    I live in Alberta, Canada. If asked, most people believe things that are not true with respect to our relationship with the indigenous people. For instance, when the ambitious European arrived in Alberta in the 1800’s was to marry an Indian Princess so they could curry favor with the tribes. Today no one knows that. This is despite the fact that our best known leaders of the past had strong connections to the indigenous people. For instance, Senator Lougheed was married to a Cree Woman, and thus his grandson, Premier Lougheed would be considered Mate’ as the Indigenous people track lineage through the mother, not the father. Another more recent Premier Ralph Klein spoke indigenous languages and was married to a Blackfoot woman. All of these people were conservatives, not liberals.

    My point is simple. Real history is complex and on the surface contradictory. This truth seems to be forgotten.

  12. Juxtaposing the inexactitude of ancient Judaic scriptural logic as anything other than biblical mythology, with the more contemporaneous academic historical study and reflection, is tantamount to the attempted genocidal eradication and erasure of the extant present.

    Question: Why has ‘Israel’ been attempting, for more than a century now, to “Erase the Past” and bury the factual history of Greater Arab Palestine?

  13. As an European citizen I am appalled and VERY angry at these stupid people in power that bring us to the brink of extinction, with every single lunatic move of their petty, empty brains, the arrogance of these people is obviously endless (not even children in Kindergarten show such moronic behavior). We are in such a difficult time, what do we want? Jump of the cliff? Very hard not to get depressed about our ‘fellow humans’!

  14. Mr. Lawrence displays his usual pro-Russian bias first on line 6 and again on line 12 of his article. Apparently the designation of ‘Russian’ is considered to be on par with the designation ‘Soviet’.

    At that time, within the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian republic was legally on par with the Russian one. Therefore, supporting the designation ‘Russian’ and opposing the designation ‘Ukrainian’ is not compatible with the legal status of Ukraine and Russia in that period and can only be seen as showing a pro-Russian Nationalist bias.

    Formally speaking, listing the nationality of USSR’s fallen soldiers as ‘Soviet’ is correct. Listing their nationality as ‘Russian’ however is incorrect unless they actually came from the Russian Soviet republic.

    The most informative (and truthful) designation of nationality on a soldier’s gravestone would then be ‘Soviet (Russian)’ or ‘Soviet (Ukrainian)’.

    Amongst the snide and insinuating prose Mr. Lawrence produced we can discern an attempt to mislead. Mr. Lawrence would have us believe that updating the gravestones to more accurately reflect the nationality of fallen soldiers (in addition to their citizenship) somehow amounts to ‘erasing the past’.

    Of course the curators of the German cemetries are doing nothing of the sort. If anything, in attempting to make the epitaphs more informative, they add to the record of the past and correct obvious errors (like calling Ukrainian soldiers Russians).

    It would plead for Mr. Lawrence if he were to advocate the more informative epitaph and refrain from misleadingly suggesting that the past is being erased. It would also plead for him if he were up-front about his obvious wish to support Russian nationalism.

    Last but not least it would be nice if he could refrain from tripping over his own feet in his rush to bash Germany for correcting the epitaphs.

    1. Of course it is about re-writing history, why do you think this happens now (although it is a small thing, compared to not inviting Mr Putin to Normandy Beach Memorials, but this process of ignoring Russia and doubting and besmearing everything they say or suggest is something that goes on now for a long time)? Everything in Europe that has ‘Russ….’ in it has to be eliminated so that ALL of us can trot in lockstep to deliver weapons to Ukraine, because they are a wonderful democracy which needs our help (soon everything that tells us other facts will be ‘burnt’ like all the MSM reports on rampant neo-nazi groups and bottomless corruption. We will have forgotten that since the end of the USSR the plan always was to take Russia apart and run with what we could grab! )
      Recently Germany changed a few things with their law regarding ‘Volksverhetzung’ and the French introduced a new law that gives their ‘police’ (which is very militarized) more power. So outcome of all this will be that everybody who is not in total agreement with our ‘good governments’ will be hunted down (first with penalties, later with more sinister methods … 1984 is happening now !!)
      And so I enjoy very much reading Mr Patrick Lawrence and others that still tell us the ‘old myths’!!

      1. @Elisabeth

        “Of course it is about re-writing history”

        Changing epitaphs from ‘Russian’ to ‘Soviet (Ukrainian)’ where appropriate isn’t re-writing history so much as refining it. And it’s most certainly not ‘erasing’ history.

        “, why do you think this happens now”

        Because Russia has started a war in Ukraine and has always been trying to get political capital out of its role in WW-II. As long as the Ukraine was a part of the USSR, it didn’t matter. But now, that Russia is trying to eliminate the Ukraine, steal its territory, and oppress its population, it suddenly does matter.

        “ (although it is a small thing, compared to not inviting Mr Putin to Normandy Beach Memorials,”

        Sorry, but I support that. Mr. Putin and Russia have taken on the role earlier played by Nazi Germany in terms of revisionism and territorial claims. In short: not someone you’d invite to a memorial service.

        “ but this process of ignoring Russia and doubting and besmearing everything they say or suggest”

        Calling an aggressor and aggressor isn’t an act of besmearing them. Not by a far stretch. And doubting everything Russia says is no more than sensible policy given the stream of calculated lies that have emanated from the Kremlin over the past 20 years. If it’s any consolatopn to you, even Russian commentators call for ‘a stop to the lies’. They’re not doing that for kicks.

        “ is something that goes on now for a long time)?”

        The Russian government has been lying for a long time too.

        “ Everything in Europe that has ‘Russ….’ in it has to be eliminated”

        Well, if its corrupt and criminal government and its national-socialist pressure groups could be eliminated, that would be fine. Both for us and for Russians in general.

        “ so that ALL of us can trot in lockstep to deliver weapons to Ukraine”

        I’m so glad we’re on the same page here. Can I, as a private citizen, call your attention to various humanitarian aid groups aiding Ukrainians who need water, heat, and light as a result of Russia’s campaing of destroying civillian infrastructure? And a letter of support to your local congressman would be nice as well. Thanks.

        “, because they are a wonderful democracy which needs our help”

        Hear, hear!

        “ (soon everything that tells us other facts will be ‘burnt’ like all the MSM reports on rampant neo-nazi groups and bottomless corruption.”

        Let’s keep a perspective, shall we? There are Neo-Nazi groups in the US, Russia, Germany, the UK, and Poland. India has its militant Hindus, China has its militant nationalists, Iran and Afgahnistan haver their its Islamic fanatics. Trash the lot of them because there are objectionable factions?

        “ We will have forgotten that since the end of the USSR the plan always was to take Russia apart and run with what we could grab! )”

        Tell that to the Germans who spent 30 years trying to effect change in Russia (Ostpolitik, “Wandel durch Handel”) and are now finding out that Russia is less interested in becoming a prosperous democratic country than it is in recapturing former USSR territory.

        “Recently Germany changed a few things with their law regarding ‘Volksverhetzung’”

        I take it you’rereferring to ‘§ 130 StGB – Volksverhetzung’.

        ‘(1) Wer in einer Weise, die geeignet ist, den öffentlichen Frieden zu stören,

        1.
        gegen eine nationale, rassische, religiöse oder durch ihre ethnische Herkunft bestimmte Gruppe, gegen Teile der Bevölkerung oder gegen einen Einzelnen wegen seiner Zugehörigkeit zu einer vorbezeichneten Gruppe oder zu einem Teil der Bevölkerung zum Hass aufstachelt, zu Gewalt- oder Willkürmaßnahmen auffordert oder

        2.
        die Menschenwürde anderer dadurch angreift, dass er eine vorbezeichnete Gruppe, Teile der Bevölkerung oder einen Einzelnen wegen seiner Zugehörigkeit zu einer vorbezeichneten Gruppe oder zu einem Teil der Bevölkerung beschimpft, böswillig verächtlich macht oder verleumdet,
        wird mit Freiheitsstrafe von drei Monaten bis zu fünf Jahren bestraft.’
        Why don’t you point out to us what part of this paragraph is so objectionable? Go on, show us.

        Personally I don’t see anything but a regrettably necessary law to be able to take action against those who incite nationalist, racial, regligious, or ethnic hatred. The only beef I have with this article is that is was apparently necessary to call it into law. It should be so self-evident that writing it up would be superfluous. In a sense this is where we already lost the battle (at least in part).

        “ and the French introduced a new law that gives their ‘police’ (which is very militarized) more power.”

        Well, they still have a long way to go before they match US levels of militarisation of police. But yes, the more paramilitary branches of the French police have a reputation as bruisers.

        “ So outcome of all this will be that everybody who is not in total agreement with our ‘good governments’ will be hunted down (first with penalties, later with more sinister methods … 1984 is happening now !!)”

        And I was wondering when it would make an appearance. Goold old conspiracy theory is alive and kicking. Way to go.

        “And so I enjoy very much reading Mr Patrick Lawrence and others that still tell us the ‘old myths’!! ”

        Well, have it your way. I personally regard his writings as thinly veiled wild-ass anti-western and pro-Russian propaganda pieces.

  15. Why do we have continued pandemic of historical amnesia in every country in the world?

    In the core of modern educational system is extreme nationalism, national chauvinism and statism supported by specifically concocted for such purpose national religions and/or ideologies.

    It is true in the US, in China or Russia and it was true in the Nazi Germany and Soviet Union. Just examine history books of any two neighboring countries; contradictions of the facts as well as interpretations are shocking even about well-documented historical events that occurred centuries ago between current political allies. All so far undertaken harmonization of common history efforts with participation of experts from opposite sides utterly failed.

    Why is that?

    Simply because every country’s mostly illegitimate elites with no popular mandate can’t afford changing their false, fantastic narratives about grandiosity of their nations, fearing the total rejection of legitimacy of their rule.

    So for example, Germany slowly becoming a victim of Adolph Hitler a foreigner, an Austrian by birth, and Japanese long became victims of the China’s communist plot and bad circumstances. Fundamental American failures were blamed on Communist, Soviet or are recently blamed on Russian and Chinese conspiracy to subvert democracy. Historical facts are being erased daily. Historical revisionism is rampant now as it was in the past.

    Whitewashing of the history taught in our educational system from kindergarten to graduate schools in every country on Earth is shocking and unbelievable unless we understand the true purpose of educational system.

    Another objective of the education system is to train us to be useful militarily against the enemies of ruling elites, domestic and/or foreign.

    In order to do that more and more advanced knowledge is needed to design, produce and operate deadly weapons and that includes weapons of mass Psychological warfare targeting domestic population. The foundation of necessary knowledge is kindly provided by the secondary educational system run by the military or security services as well as by the public/private educational institutions infested by intelligence organizations and operatives .

    The militarization of our nation-states is appalling and is increasing with the increased imperial domination of globalization processes. Claims of the 2% GDP spending for military is a joke no one believes. In the US more the 40% and up to 60% of the economy is driven by the military/system enforcement agencies and related government spending respectively. The “retired” generals are practically running MIC and their cronies are running “disruptive innovations” of the internet and the social media madness as a NSA or the other surveillance agency’s pet projects. The former military or their cronies take majority of positions in the local governments, especially in local police or SWAT teams or other government or quasi-governmental agencies of System enforcement.

    The military cronies or their patsies run most of the government contracting. Military extended “families”, and their often illegitimate children, take all kinds of cushy positions including the leading positions in the public utilities, public school systems and university systems, public or private, and additionally serve a purpose of the propaganda of upward social mobility. The former military people are everywhere and often hold the critical positions, put there only to do their duties when orders come.

    Tens of millions of good Americans working for governments of every level as well as in the state-fused corporate institutions of death and war propaganda such as main stream media of corporatist state, the so-called health/death systems, public utilities, commodity and the energy sector and the remains of manufacturing industry are all the product of a nation-state run educational system preparing everyone to do their deadly duties for a sake of our nations or more precisely to defend the ruling elites with our blood.

    Lie was designed as fundamental tool of modern National education worldwide.

    If we want our children to learn something beneficial to human society shut down inherently corrupted school system that don’t produce informed of his rights citizen but a slave brainwashed to submit and supports ruling regimes via hatred to his brothers and sisters everywhere.

  16. to Golodh:Thank you for your substantial reply, I have only one thing to add: probably you should read a few of Prof. Stephen Cohen’s books – all what you mention in your essay is just looking at the NOW, NOTHING happens out of the BLUE, and this war of aggression could CERTAINLY have been avoided ! Wars are only good for producing DEAD people and terrible suffering (and of course the MIC, or as Ray McGovern calls it MICIMATT … )

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