Tuesday 22 March 2022

Solidarity with the people, not their leaders


Eighty years ago 1.2 million Jewish people were murdered by Nazis and their collaborators in Ukraine. Ukrainians, such as the infamous Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, were among the most notorious guards at Auschwitz and at other Nazi death camps. 

The most notorious massacre of Jews was at the Babi Yar ravine outside Kiev where more than 33,000 Jews were killed in a single operation on 29–30 September 1941. 
Many thousands of Roma met a similar fate. 

The dead died, but the ideology that brought that about lived on, festering in the living earth above their corpses and ashes, waiting for the opportunity for a resurgence. That opportunity is now. 

In 2014, a Ukrainian neo-Nazi militia called Azov Battalion was formed to combat Russian separatism. It was incorporated into the national guard, and is today an official part of the Ukrainian military. Azov members wear uniforms carrying the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel symbol, which resembles a black swastika on a yellow background. The photo above is of Azov commander, Major Denis Prokopenk, saluting the Wolfsangel.

Volunteers have arrived in Ukraine to join them, a perverse echo of the International Brigades at the time of the Spanish Civil War. American, Canadian and European neo-Nazis have travelled to Ukraine to fight. Welcoming them Azov’s political leader, Andriy Biletsky, stated that, “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival.”

In recent days reports have appeared of Azov soldiers preventing people from leaving cities, and of Roma and LBGT people being tied to lampposts and smeared in paint.

Meanwhile the Ukrainian government has outlawed Leftist parties.

OK I am asked what would you do if you were in Ukraine? 

Thirty years ago I was in Sarajevo, a city under siege. I was there in solidarity with the people of that city. The city's fighters were not on the frontline for President Alija Izetbegović or his political party. They were certainly not there risking and losing their lives to enrich the President’s family and other local oligarchs. They were there to defend their homes and families. And they were certainly not saluting any flags.