Unhappy the land in need of heroes

February 21, 2023 9:55 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Article by John Green

In his play Galileo, Bertolt Brecht wrote: ‘Unhappy the land that needs heroes’. Today, it seems the whole Western world is desperate to have a hero, and Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy clearly fits the bill. Reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, in which a small-time actor inadvertently finds himself the dictator of Nazi Germany, today in Ukraine a former TV comedian, with no previous political experience, finds himself anointed supreme leader, to be celebrated beyond measure as the little man confronting the ‘Nazi’ Russian monster.

During an address to the European Parliament, Zelensky referenced that Nazi period when he warned European lawmakers that ‘Russia wants to return Europe to the xenophobia of the 1930s and 1940s’. He argued further that his country and the EU share the same values, and that the ‘European standard of life and the European rules of life are when the law rules. This is our Europe, these are our rules, this is our way of life,’ he said. No mention here of the fact that many Ukrainians were nazi collaborators and fought on the side of the fascists and such people are still highly influential today.

The European way of life, it seems, means to ramp up military confrontation with Russia. First, Zelenskyy wanted NATO’s full support with boots on the ground in Ukraine, then he wanted more tanks, now he wants fighter jets. What next – nuclear weapons? In his megalomania he is given full support from NATO countries, if not the rest of the world.

Even while opposing the war, we on the left should be clear that this conflict was deliberately provoked, just as the war with North Vietnam was provoked in 1964. Once again, the USA has flouted international law by blowing up a Russian gas pipeline to Europe, as the US investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh has recently argued. He was the journalist who in, 1969 exposed the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam and its cover up, for which he received the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting and won the George Orwell Award.

Writing in his blog on Substack, Hersh alleges that US Navy divers planted explosives at the pipelines in June last year, under the guise of the BALTOPS 22 NATO exercise. The article says that the bombing was the culmination of months-long planning and preparations by the US. President Joe Biden and all his top leadership team participated in a series of top-secret discussions in the lead-up to the act.

Whistle blower Edward Snowden backed Hersh up with his ironic Tweet: ‘Can you think of any examples from history of a secret operation that the White House was responsible for, but strongly denied?’

Adding more fuel to the fire, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on 24 January: ‘We are fighting a war against Russia and not against each other’.

Last Wednesday, Rishi Sunak said that ‘nothing was off the table when it came to supplying Ukraine with jets to fight Russia’.

Politicians are queuing up to visit the Kiev warzone and to be seen standing next to Zelenskyy, dressed in his signature combat fatigues. He seems to be perfectly happy to involve NATO in his war with Russia, despite the real danger of nuclear conflagration.

This whole saga has been turned into an extreme Orwellian nightmare.

Never, since the establishment of nation states in Europe in the 19th century, have we experienced such a complete synchronisation of media and political consensus in promoting a single nation and demonising another. Not the treatment of Palestine, Kashmir, or the Kurds, for instance, has elicited such outrage and one-sided support.  

Before the outbreak of the First World War most of those on the left were completely opposed to the build-up to war but within weeks, they had all keeled over and became gung-ho for war. Only a handful, on the far left of the social democratic party like Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht in Germany and Fenner Brockway in Britain continued to oppose the war. Once again history repeats itself as farce but could easily morph into tragedy. In the face of so many global problems, do we really need more hatred in the world and the continued squandering of resources on military hardware?

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