17 May 2011

Lviv, Ecclesiastes and Karl Marx

Ecclesiastes 1:9: What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun...

Karl Marx: History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.

So what is going on here? Has the old coot lost his last marble, you would ask. What is it with Lviv, Ecclesiastes and the Beard? What is Lviv, anyway, some of you may want to know, of course.

Well, Lviv is a city in Western Ukraine. The latter was annexed by Soviet Union in 1939 as agreed between Nazi Germany and Soviet Union in the framework of infamous Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Since then, many a Western Ukrainian carries a chip on his/her shoulder where Russia is concerned. Not that the Ukrainians in general don't carry such a chip: most of them do, but with Western Ukraine it's kinda special. When Nazis recruited Ukrainians into their army and into local police, the response was quite enthusiastic all over, but in Western Ukraine Nazis were seen as liberators and a god's gift that will upset the Moscow commies and Judeo-masons. Oh, and incidentally, Lviv had a big Jewish population at the time: about 110,000.

It so happens that on May 9, 2011, as on every May 9 since 1945, Russians, especially ones that fought in the WWII against Nazis, visit the war memorials, bring flowers to remember the millions of Red Army soldiers fallen in that war and generally do what every veteran does on this day in Russia and around it.

Not in Lviv this time.
On Monday, violence broke out as Ukrainian protesters attempted to disrupt the May 9 celebration of the Russian victory over the Nazis.

The sickle and hammer flag was burnt and a wreath dedicated to the Soviet Red Army was destroyed.

The violence took place in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, which has a troubled history with Russia. The city was occupied by Soviet troops in 1939, and some welcomed the Nazis as liberators when they arrived two years later. Around 50 nationalists fought with riot police and one of the demonstrators was shot in the leg.
There is a clip of the violence to watch in the article, but here is another one, unfortunately only in Russian but with more ugly details:

No need to learn Russian (or Ukrainian or any other language), is there? You can see the hateful mugs of the "nationalist" youngsters, their hateful behavior and come to your own conclusions about how fitting the term "nationalist" is in this case. Another, more suitable word comes to mind.

And then I read an exceptional post by Mahmoud Salem aka Sandmonkey about another eruption of hate - the fighting between Coptic Christians and Muslims in Egypt - close to our neck of the woods.

And then I read about new adventures of Jobbik, the Hungarian neo-fascist gang party.

And then I read some new/old quotes from Hamas' Ismail Haniyeh and the trick played by Baby Assad and his Iranian sponsors on our border and ... oh well, enough for today.

Well, and on top of all this (sorry, Francis, my sincere apologies) I encountered a blogger who, being a nice and sincere socialist, tries to persuade us (look in the comments, please) that nation-states must be abolished ASAP. Which is, in general, not a bad idea. Only the timing grated a bit, seeing all of the above.

And now we can go back to were we started. You see, there is a partial agreement between Ecclesiastes and Marx: yes, they agree that history repeats itself. Only the bearded one, being an optimist, considers the second time (is it every second time, I wonder?) to be a farce. Nope, comrade Marx. As far as history goes, it's a tragedy every old time. Farce is what we read in some history books and in some science fiction stories.

If we, as humanity in toto, learn anything from history, it's rather negative: that we don't learn anything from history. Now figure the previous sentence out...

Oh, and I think we can add another (nice but fairly useless) ditty to that of comrade Marx:

Never again...

Hat tip: Y.S.