Thursday, February 07, 2008

Katyn: the Germans did it, not us

The Economist reports on an ominous sign of official Russian backsliding. After the fall of Soviet Communism, the new Russian government admitted that Stalin's secret police had killed 40,000 Polish officers in Katyn forest, not the Nazis as Stalin claimed.

Now Putin's government is back to peddling the party line.

Read the column in the Economist for how ominous this is.

Curiously, this incident (Katyn) just came up in a World History seminar this afternoon.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

You are the crown of creation...

...and you've got no place to go!

Less than two weeks ago, the government of Poland was arguing in EU councils that its voting weight should take into account all the Poles slaughtered by Germans in World War II and the natural increase of population that might have taken place had there been no war.

Yesterday the online Guardian ran an article on the harrassment of gays in Poland, including a government body tasked with "curing" them, which has led to an exodus of gays to countries like Britain.

Between 1989 and 1991, the countries of eastern Europe were freed from Soviet domination with hardly a life being lost -- the most miraculous public event I've witnessed, and probably will ever witness. Some of those countries have yet to decide what that freedom means; for some of their people it seems that the nationalist/racist nightmare that was 1930s Europe is attractive. It's not just Poland, and it's not just this issue. The mistreatment of the Roma (otherwise known as the gypsies) is a running scandal.

There has been speculation about whether the Turks, the old enemy of Christian Europe, can really fit into the EU. Incidents like this make it clear that even within its current boundaries there are big issues to be sorted out.

Link: the song on YouTube.

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