Tomorrow at noon: Belarus and 80th anniversary of Nazi invasion
As a scholar I know that a war of symbols has always been a harbinger of real military actions. In this regard, the claims of the collective West, especially Germany and Poland, to the moral high ground look inherently criminal.
The Belarusian state news agency reports that the nation will observe a minute of silence tomorrow to commemorate the victims of the Nazi invasion of the country that began eighty years ago tomorrow.
At twelve o’clock in the afternoon citizens are encouraged to pause in remembrance of the millions of victims of Operation Barbarossa and its aftermath.
The Belarusian Telegraph Agency today showcases comments by Nikolai Shchekin of the Sociology Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus which include the lament that it is both “deeply symbolic and tragic” the West has chosen just this historical moment, the anniversary of the Nazi invasion, to impose the latest round of major sanctions against his nation.
He also offered this sobering reminder:
“Everyone will agree with me that 22 June 1941 is the most tragic day in our history. Perhaps no date highlights the historical tragic fate of the Belarusian people like this one. The entire millennial history pales before the horrific history of the Great Patriotic War. It affected the lives of everyone, left a scar on the hearts and souls of millions of Belarusians and other Soviet peoples, their descendants.”
But the world doesn’t care. Go to Google News and do a search for Belarus and headlines like these will be found:
Belarus Faces Expanded E.U. Sanctions, Targeting Economy – New York Times
US, EU and Britain slap sanctions on Belarus officials and companies – Reuters
Lithuania says Belarus is helping Middle Eastern migrants to cross its borders – Reuters
U.S. Slaps Sanctions on Belarus Over Human Rights Abuses, Erosion of Democracy – U.S. News & World Report
The Belarusian scholar is also quoted bemoaning the fact that:
“Historical memory is the most valuable thing that remains in the history of society and mankind. Today, it is with sadness and heavy hearts that we have been watching the absurd and chaotic nature of what is happening. Actions, words, ideas, people are being forgotten. It is difficult to wrap you head around their attempts to denigrate the great heroic pages of our people and desecrate our cherished memory.”
He further denounces “recent attempts by the collective West to rewrite the tragic” history of World War II in Belarus, adding that such a campaign of historical revisionism “must be regarded as a declaration of war: a war on the historical truth and the memory, our independence.”
As the people of Belarus pause for a minute tomorrow at noon, they would be wise to reflect on these words from the same source:
“80 years have passed, but the graves of millions of Red Army soldiers, monuments reminding us of the atrocities of the Nazis in concentration camps, obelisks that perpetuate the heroic feat of the Belarusian people are a reminder to all of us, now living, about the criminal efforts of the collective West to ‘democratize’ Belarus.”
He is not the only person to note the parallel, as Belarus was singled out in a hostile fashion in the communiqué issued at last week’s NATO summit and as the U.S. and NATO boost warplanes, troops, armor and missiles in the neighboring states of Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, and its neighbor to the south, Ukraine, accuses it of plotting military aggression.
Further comments by the scholar are as germane and uncompromising as the occasion requires:
“As a scholar I know that a war of symbols has always been a harbinger of real military actions. In this regard, the claims of the collective West, especially Germany and Poland, to the moral high ground look inherently criminal. The demolition of monuments to the Red Army in Western countries (Poland, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Romania, Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria, Slovakia) defies reasonable explanation. The falsification of history is a crime against descendants [of the victims].”
Finally, he offers this timely admonition:
“It is everyone’s duty to bow low to all those who died under the bombardment of the Luftwaffe, who perished in the concentration camps and in villages burnt to the ground, who were brutally tortured by the Gestapo, who were subjected to savage medical and biological experiments and who were buried alive and put to death in the torture chambers. Our generation has no right to forget the atrocities of Hitler’s Germany and the fascist democracy of the collective West. We cannot permit a repeat of the genocide against Belarus. Holding a nationwide minute of silence will be an immutable and vital tradition, immortalizing the souls and hearts of the victims.”
Not just the people of Belarus but everyone in the world should pause for a minute tomorrow at noon. Religious believers should say a prayer for the tens of millions of Belarusians and others who perished as a result of the invasion of eighty years ago. And pledge to ban every bayonet, bomb and barracks on the planet.
“As long as we feel it, we remain human. Memory is the ongoing commitment of generations. They tell us to forget everything, but history is not some kind of toy. It is not something you can distort. No, history is eternal: there are justice, facts and evidence. If we forget the past, then we can repeat it. We cannot allow this to happen. We must preserve the memory of the past in order to continue the dialogue with the present and ensure the future.”
It is a tragedy in its own right that the above sentiment is only expressed, perhaps is only felt, in tiny Belarus.
The parliamentarian added this, which is ignored at the peril of moral decay and demise:
“There can be no oblivion and forgiveness of these crimes. The memory of the ordeals endured by our fathers and grandfathers is filled with pain and sorrow, but also with pride for those who did everything possible and impossible to win that war.”
He also challenged all of us, too often in a state of political amnesia, in a moral coma, to shake off lethargy and complacency and recall our historical obligations:
“Some do not like it today. The current followers of the Nazis and their accomplices are trying to confuse people; first of all the young, the immature. They promise them easy money and a la dolce vita life. Only the prosperity that is created by own own hands is lasting. That is why we must not give up our positions. We need all government and public institutions to work together. We might have missed something in the past, but we are aware of this problem. We need to do our best so that our children continue to believe in the same values that were important to us.”
Tomorrow at 12:00.