Sakset/Fra hofta

En stor forskjell på amerikanske og europeiske liberalere kommer til syne i Ukraina-krisen. Mens europeere er dialogorienterte inntil selvutslettelse, våkner amerikanerne til liv og anklager Barack Obama for tafatthet.

Denne forskjellen sier noe vesentlig om forskjellige politiske kulturer. Europeerne forstår ikke amerikanerne og synes de er «hawkish», haukete, krigerske.

Hva skyldes forskjellen? Frontiermentaliteten, og mye større individuelt spillerom er generelle trekk. Men det er også andre, mer spesifikke, som alle jødene som flyktet fra Europa og unnslapp Hitler og Stalin.

Deres etterkommere er personlig berørt av det som skjer; Det som nå skjer gjelder byene de er fra, og Putins framferd minner om gamle dager.

Ett eksempel er Roger Cohen i New York Times, som skriver gripende om hva Ukraina handler om: sannhet fremfor løgn. Folkene i øst har så blodige og bitre erfaringer. De vil inn i EU og NATO for å ha en garanti for at historien ikke vil gjenta seg. Putins oppførsel vekker deres frykt for en gjentakelse. Han har samme mentalitet; den invaderendes. Løgnens.

Now the spread eastward of NATO and the European Union — the greatest of post-Cold-War achievements — has allowed the Baltic states to begin disentangling truth from lies in the carnage of their histories.

That is what westward-gazing Ukrainians are fighting for at the most basic level: truth over lies. They want a life based on facts rather than fabrications, institutions rather than provocations, laws rather than cash-filled envelopes.

Last month my colleague Alison Smale filed a piece from Lviv in western Ukraine. It began: “Under a leaden sky that wept intermittent rain, this fiercely proud city bade farewell on Saturday to one of its sons, a 28-year-old university lecturer killed by a bullet on Thursday in Kiev in the carnage on and around Independence Square.”

Erfaringene menneskene i øst gjorde, både under og etter krigen, var slike at mennesker i Vest-Europa ikke har noe sammenligningsgrunnlag. Befolkningen i Lwow fikk ikke lov å bli boende etter krigen. Den ble skiftet ut.

Likevel bevares minnet og spiriten. Lwow var en gang del av Vesten, og de føler det er der de hører hjemme. Ikke det lovløse landet Puting og Janukovitsj bestyrer.

Lviv was called Lwów and was in eastern Poland before the Hitler-Stalin pact and World War II. It was occupied twice by the Red Army and once by the Nazis. Its prewar population of Jews and Poles was murdered or deported. After the war, the city was incorporated into Ukraine — and of course the Soviet orbit.

The reason people in this part of Europe crave the framework of NATO and the European Union is for security and prosperity, of course. Above all, however, they seek a guarantee that the torment of their history, with its lies, is behind them.

 Så går Cohen over til å snakke om sin egen slekt. Mange av dem ligger begravet i skogene i Litauen. Der ble de klassifisert som ofre for fascismen. Sovjetunionen stjal mordet på jødene og la det inn under sin egen fortelling. Slik kunne Stalin vende seg mot jødene etter krigen.

My family came from Zagare in northern Lithuania. The Soviet Red Army occupied the town in 1940, was driven out by the Nazis in June of 1941, and fought its way back in 1944.

Like Lviv, Zagare was thrice occupied. When Soviet forces reached the town in 1944, they found a mass grave in the woods. A Soviet Special Commission examined the remains and determined that there were 2,402 corpses: 530 men, 1,223 women, 625 children and 24 babies. This accounting showed a small discrepancy from the numbers given by SS Standartenführer Karl Jäger, who in a report dated Dec. 1, 1941, from the Lithuanian town of Kaunas exulted that 2,266 Jews (663 men, 1,107 women and 496 children) were executed in Zagare on Oct. 2, 1941.

A Soviet sign was put up in the wood: “Memorial to the victims of Fascism.” It hid the truth, as was the norm in Moscow’s empire.

The Soviets found the human remains but had scant interest in an accurate identification of them as Jews. Stalin’s aim, as Snyder explains, was to forge Homo Sovieticus, not to reinforce Jewish identity. The Holocaust had to be managed within the Soviet political agenda.

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Stalin had to conflate Jews’ particular suffering into the immense general (read Slavic and Russian) sacrifice of the “Great Patriotic War” against Hitler. So the Jews in the Zagare ditch or Ponary forest near Vilnius, and in countless other pits across the “Bloodlands,” were identified, if at all, as “Soviet victims of Fascism.”

Putin benytter seg av samme fascisme-retorikk når han sier at «fascistene» er tilbake i Kiev. Han spiller på de samme følelsene som fortellingen om Den store fedrelandskrigen har holdt i live, men nå har ideologien utartet til nasjonalbolsjevisme. Det gjør den mer labil og uforutsigbar.

Litauen måtte bli fritt før det kom opp en minnetavle som fortalte sannheten. Det samme gjelder Krim-tatarene; først da Ukraina ble selvstendig fikk de vende tilbake. De ble deportert av Stalin i 1944.

Denne mangel på interesse for sannhet og rettferdighet henger sammen.  Et folk som har fått smaken på frihet og sannhet, vil ikke så lett gli tilbake og overgi seg til det lovløse.

Only with Lithuanian independence from Moscow in 1990 was a memorial detailing the Nazi crime in Zagare put up in the woods. It reads: “In this place on Oct. 2, 1941, Nazi killers and their local helpers killed about 3,000 Jewish men, women and children from the Siauliai region.” In 2012 a similar plaque was placed in the middle of town.

Det er ikke noe vanskelig for Cohen å forstå ukrainerne. Hans og deres historie er den samme.

Ukraine is fighting for its right to remember, accurately and truthfully, that 28-year-old Lviv university lecturer killed in the fight for its freedom. No right should be more important to the United States and Europe. Societies based on lies fail.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/07/opinion/07iht-edcohen07.html?action=click&contentCollection=Europe&module=RelatedCoverage&region=Marginalia&pgtype=article