Sunday, February 9, 2014

Russia: A Totalitarian Abattoir

During my 61-and-a-half years of life I have always been a nationalist.  I have been devoted to my country, pride-filled and content in the belief that America was the greatest country in the world.  I have never been a jingoist.

Over those many years, the Olympics were something I watched with great interest because it showcased the American athlete.  No greater pride was felt than when an American athlete mounted the podium at the medals ceremony and the national anthem played to the assembled crowd in the stadium and the watching world.

To witness an American cry during the rousing anthem or to see them wrap themselves in Old Glory when they bested their competition raised my sense of pride.

America throughout its history has always been a force for good around the world.

When I arrived home after a hard day at work, I turned on my television and caught the last 30 minutes or so of the Opening Ceremony.  I sat there and watched Putin’s revisionist whitewashed history play out inside Fisht Olympic Stadium including the glorification of a giant hammer and sickle; the unadulterated icons of communism, the theories of Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels and the butchery of Uncle Joe Stalin.

As a young girl growing up, I did something for which I am deeply ashamed.  Born in 1952, just 7 years after the end of World War II, history classes taught school children about World War II.  Invariably the lessons would include discussions about Nazi Germany.  Every American knew about the atrocities committed by Hitler and it was widely held that every German citizen knew about what was happening to the Jews.

Since 1966, post-war historians reckoned that “most Germans did not know” precisely about the “evolving terror of Hitler’s Holocaust” because the Nazis seduced an unwilling or passive public.  Robert Gellately, professor in Holocaust history at Clark University wrote, “For decades my generation had been told that so much of the terror had been carried out in complete secrecy.”

What I did during those history lessons in school was hold my tongue.  You see, my mother was German.  My dad fell in love with her while he was stationed in Berlin as part of the Berlin Airlift and was part of the constabulary responsible for guarding Rudolph Hess in Spandau Prison in West Berlin.  I held my tongue because I did not want my classmates to think my mother was a Nazi.  You see, the hatred for Nazis was towering and it was deserved, but my mom was not a Nazi and didn’t deserve to be hated.  I had no way of countering the hatred.  I just wanted to protect her.  I felt trapped and I wound up denying my mother.  I deeply regret having done that.

After they were married he brought her home and arranged for her mother to join them.  I grew up hearing stories of how elderly men were shot and killed while trying to stop Red Army soldiers from gang-raping their wives.  My grandmother would cry as she recounted how “the mongrels” would pillage and plunder the homes that had been turned into rubble destroying what was left of the furniture smashing it with bayonets and rifle butts.  She spoke of one incident where her neighbor’s home was invaded and the Red Army soldiers pulled a faucet from the wall to take back to the Soviet Union thinking it would bring running water.

The movie, A Woman in Berlin, reviewed in the LA Times by Kenneth Turan and described far more vividly by Andrew Roberts for The Daily Mail, authenticated the stories I was told about as a child.

What does all this have to do with the Opening Ceremony and that hammer and sickle?  It’s about the obfuscation of the truth—Yezhovshchina—the deaths of 20 million Russians, labor camps, manufactured famines, torture and a complete toll of bloodshed that will likely never be known.

What NBC did by televising that segment of the ceremony was to cover up the atrocities of which Soviet Russia is guilty in the manner and style of Walter Duranty who notoriously lied about Stalin’s infamies. 

The New York Times Moscow correspondent wrote 13 articles that were complete works of fiction.  So egregious was the palter that the Pulitzer Prize Board was asked to revoke the prize awarded him.   They did not because they were goddamned cowards.

NBC further propagandized “the evil empire” by creating a lead-in to the Opening Ceremony by hiring Peter Dinklage to narrate a pabulum piece in which the audience was lulled into a belief that the images they were seeing was one of industry, of construction, of building upward to a bright new future of hope and change leading to a perfect society where all comrades are equal and flowering in the glory of a Utopian collective.
“The towering presence, the empire that ascended to affirm a colossal footprint. The revolution that birthed one of modern history’s pivotal experiments. But if politics has long shaped our sense of who they are, it’s passion that endures. As a more reliable right to their collective heart. What they build in aspirations, lifted by imagination. What they craft, through the wonder of every last detail. How magical the fusion of sound and movement can be. How much a glass of distilled perfection and an overflowing table can matter. Discover the Russian people through these indelible signatures. Discover what we share with them through the games that open here tonight.”
It is, in fact, a failed political system, a legacy of gulags, Chernobyl nuclear nightmares, corruption and oppression of the highest order.

Sally Jenkins rightly noted, “The most expensive Olympics in history is partly a Potemkin village, an elaborate facade built to impress foreign passersby and to enhance the image of a small, odd, chill-faced man who likes to pose menacingly shirtless in order to seem much taller than he actually is.”

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