politics of World War II
On the evening of Sept. 29, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel joined Rwandan President Paul Kagame on a panel sponsored by This World: The Jewish Values Network at New York's Cooper Union entitled "Genocide: Do the Strong Have an Obligation to Protect the Weak?"—with the obvious context being the crisis in Syria. But outside a small group of local Congolese protested, holding banners reading "KAGAME IS A CRIMINAL OF MASS MURDER" and "PROTECT THE WEAK FROM KAGAME." Said protester Kambale Musavuli of the group Friends of the Congo: "He should be on the terrorist list and instead he's being invited to speak about genocide. This is really sick."
Over one and a half million Catalans on Sept. 11 celebrated their Diada Nacional—the national day marking the 1714 Siege of Barcelona—by forming a human chain stretching 400 kilometers across the territory, from Tarragona in the south to El Pertús on the border with France. The chain, dubbed the "Via Catalana," was the climax of days of demonstrations calling for independence from Spain, and was inspired by the 1989 Baltic Way chain across Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia that launched the drive for independence from the USSR.
Savvas Michael-Matsas, leader of a small radical-left party, went on trial in Greece Sept. 3, charged with "libellous defamation," "incitement to violence and civil discord" and "disturbing the public peace" in a case brought by members of the far-right Golden Dawn party. Michael-Matsas' Revolutionary Workers' Party (EEK) has a slogan of "The people don't forget, they hang fascists." Michael-Matsas himself had publicly boasted: "I'm the embodiment of every fascist's fantasy. I'm a Jew, a communist—and a heretical communist, a Trotskyist, at that. I don't fit anywhere. The only thing I happen not to be is homosexual." Co-defendant Konstantinos Moutzouris, a former rector of Athens Polytechnic, stands accused of allowing progressive news website Athens Indymedia to use the university's server.
Ron Paul's connections to the neo-fascist right are already well established, for those who are paying attention. Now it seems his longtime connection to the John Birch Society has led him deeper into the radical right nexus. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch blog, Paul is scheduled to speak at a confab sponsored by a wing of the "Traditionalist" schism that literally claims to be more Catholic than the Pope and has long been a magnet for sinister reactionaries. In this case, one of the fellow luminaries on the bill is the Italian neo-fascist leader Roberto Fiore.
The usual frustrating mess. The ascendance of Samantha Power, longtime advocate of "humanitarian intervention," as Obama's new UN ambassador (replacing Susan Rice, named for National Security Advisor), is applauded by Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch (NBC)—and, we may be certain, opposed by both the anti-war left and the paleocon right. Google results reveal that the paleocons have beat the lefties to the punch. A Fox News report picked up by World Net Daily taunts: "'Nazi' Problem for Obama's UN pick?"...
With all eyes on the crisis between North and South Korea, the international media have largely overlooked growing tensions between both Koreas and Japan. On April 5, Seoul lodged a diplomatic protest against Japan's renewed territorial claim to the Dokdo Islands, known as Takeshima in Japan. The protest came after Tokyo issued a formal claim over the Seoul-controlled easternmost islets through approval of a diplomatic report that stated: "Takeshima is clearly Japanese territory in light of historical facts and under an international law." In a separate protest days earlier, Seoul lodged a complaint over new textbooks approved in Japan that emphasize Tokyo's claim to the islets while downplaying Japanese wartime atrocities in Korea. (Dong-a Ilbo, April 6; Xinhua, April 5; AsiaOne, March 27)
In what has now become an annual ritual, a group of hundreds of neo-Nazis attempted to march on Dresden's city center to crash commemorations of the 1945 Allied bombardment of the eastern German city, and were blocked by a human chain of thousands of anti-fascist activists. Some 13,000 anti-fascists linked arms in a chain stretching form the Elbe River to the city's historical city center, preventing an estimated 800 Hitler nostalgists from proceeding with what they billed as a "funeral" march, with propaganda about a "bomb holocaust." An estimated 25,000 people perished in 37 hours of Allied aerial boming that started Feb. 13, 1945. The official commemoration was presided over by the Dresden mayor and Saxony governor, both of the center-right CDU, and attended by US, Jewish and church representatives. It ended in a march to the city's Heide cemetery, where white roses were laid on the snow-covered ground for all victims of the war.
Fathi Shihab-Eddim, a senior aide to Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi responsible for appointing the editors of all state-run newspapers, marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day in his own charming way. Fox News of course trumpeted his comments with undisguised glee: "The myth of the Holocaust is an industry that America invented. US intelligence agencies in cooperation with their counterparts in allied nations during World War II created [the Holocaust] to destroy the image of their opponents in Germany, and to justify war and massive destruction against military and civilian facilities of the Axis powers, and especially to hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the atomic bomb." The standard right-wing, Islamohpbic and Zionist websites waste no time in jumping all over it: Answering Muslims, Breitbart, Homeland Security Newswire, Human Events, Washington Times, Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel, Algemeiner (mysteriously misplacing the date of the comments by three years), etc. The usual leftist and anti-Zionist sites, meanwhile, are completely silent. What is wrong with this picture? Quite a lot.