Re: Re: Shills (18/06/22 08:54:06)
Before WWI Europe was, for some purposes, borderless. Simple times. A person could go abroad to learn - a craft, the arts (I'm thinking of painting and music), and I would think sciences too, without all the complex registering and surveillance. It was possible to work one's way, too. Bureaucracies and police were otherwise occupied. It may have been for the few - but when we see the mobility towards America at the time, it couldn’t have been that exclusive. Young people with stamina and capable of simple living could go. I think today’s migrants from outside Europe may be a related sort of people. Anyway, I am all for the principles of mobility. The technical toools are much better; the political regulation has turned out for the worse, the systems are more vulnerable and more in need of protection, but the EU, with the freedom of movement – I like that. There are losers, too, in that game, and politics should be about helping the losing minorities (and in oligarchies: the losing majorities) cope in a set of difficult or even outright hostile surroundings.
I have come to the personal conclusion that the main schism between progressives and reactionaries is centered around learning. Reactionaries are unwilling to learn, unwilling to assimilate new knowledge, unwilling to let new knowledge lead to improvements in the adaptation to the present time. Or should I say: -- the peaceful adaptation to the present time.
One key element in this - IMO - is the willingness to refrain from having an emotional relation to history. History happened, but most if not all people involved are now dead, and we need to shake it off, register it, learn from it, make plans to prevent repetition. Only then can we make the world of today a good one for the living.
How am I to react if I am attacked by an armed atranger whose intent is to kill me on the spot – for my ethnicity, for my skin colour, for the shape of my nose, for my knowledge about the inner workings of some institution? There will be no room for negotiation. My only real chance would be to have a weapon on my own and shoot first.
I am presently reading Conquest’s Harvest of Sorrow. Stalin’s attitudes and statements are almost to the word those that I read in the papers as coming from Putin or his court. So I will offer another counterfactual case: What if the rest of Europe had been willing and able to see through the lies and genocidal workings of Stalin - and intervened? Actually, there was some intervention.
«Hans Fredrik Dahl: Useful Idiots? Nansen & Quisling in Ukraine in the 1920s Fridtjof Nansen and his assistant Vidkun Quisling both had first-hand knowledge of the Ukrainian famine 1921-1923 as is shown in their letters and writings collected in the archives of the National Library of Oslo. Indeed, the catastrophical famine situation in the new Bolshevik state was the very reason for The International Red Cross to set up an urgent help service headed by Nansen, and for Nansen to choose Quisling (then a young & promising army officer) as his envoy in Ukraine. The two overviewed the famine closely; Quisling as a field worker in Ukraine and Crimea in those years, Nansen as the head of enterprise (along with H. Hoover) and closely collaborating with his envoys to relieve the situation. The question of course rose: How did the rich agricultural area of Ukraine, known to be the largest grain producer, plunge into such a disaster as the catastrophic condition of starvation and poverty? Was the reason the Civil war which had shaken the country for years? Or was it clumsy governmental steps as to the shortage of nutrition? Or bad weather conditions? Quisling pondered about this in his letters to Nansen as well as in his reports of the famine situation to the League of Nations headquarter in Geneva. Clumsy politics – but why and how? Was there indeed a responsivity with the Russian government for the shortage of grain? With Bolshevik mentality in general? To address this question, I will draw upon sources such as the Nansen-Quisling correspondence and reports; the cooperation in 1923 of the two in advocating a formal recognition of Bolshevik Russia & independent (and not so independent) Ukraine (Nansen’s book on Russia 1923), and what they in general might expect from the Bolsheviks - and others materials. Nansen of the two died in 1930 but Quisling went on and in 1937 issued a strong warning against the Holodomor as Stalin’s act of deliberately verging a war against the Ukrainians. Did he at that time think back on his own experience with famine some twelve years earlier? Had they in fact been Lenin’s ’useful idiots’ as famine workers in the 1920s?»
«2018 marks 85 years since the famine known as Holodomor ravished Ukraine, taking millions of lives in the 1920s and 1930s. Today, 16 countries, including Great Britain, Canada and the United States, recognize Stalin’s eradication-through-starvation policies in 1932-1933 Ukraine as a genocide. Researchers at the National Library of Norway have delved into the library’s archives to study the historical facts and domestic policy controversies linked to Norwegian aid to Ukraine during this period. In the 1920s, commissioned by the League of Nations and the Red Cross, Fritjof Nansen worked actively to bring assistance to the people of Ukraine. Nansen was a model example of a European politician who greatly contributed to help refugees and victims of the hunger disaster. One of his co-workers in the 1920s was Vidkun Quisling. Over the next decade, Quisling would reverse his position and begin to place blame on the victims of the famine. Leading up to his tenure as Minister of Defense of Norway from 1931-1933, he used pictures from Ukraine in his Nazi propaganda against the Bolsheviks, attempting to depict Ukrainians as lower race humans. Meanwhile, in 1933, the Norwegian Prime Minister Johan Ludwig Mowinckel worked to convince the League of Nations to take measures to assist the people of Ukraine. The seminar will offer a unique opportunity for academics from Norway and Ukraine, to enter into a productive dialogue around these burning issues, re-discovering Norwegian archives.»
«There was no intention of carrying provisions of any kind to these armies, but only to help rescue the unhappy civilians in this rear from death and starvation. I remonstrated with Nansen that despite all precautions to the contrary the Bolshevik part of Russia would look upon such an expedition as help given to White Generals. Being on his way to see León Bourgeois the French statesman and member of the allied supreme council Nansen invited me to accompany him. In the car while the snow was falling slowly outside, we continued our conversation. In the office of León Bourgeois, the pros and cons were debated, and M. Bourgeois seemed to agree with me that the plan had better be postponed. A few days later, acting on the advice of Mr. Herbert Hoover the American statesman, Hansen nevertheless presented his plan to President Wilson as chairman of the Allied Supreme Council. The Council agreed on the plan on condition that its execution should wait until the cessation of hostilities in Russia. The Bolshevik authorities in Moscow replied that the hostilities were not of their making and would soon cease if the allies stopped supporting the Whites, and that 5 they could not sacrifice the future of the country for the obtaining of relief supplies, however badly these supplies were needed. So, finally, the realization of Nansen’s plan had to be postponed»
I think Quisling’s involvement somehow is related to the present-day accusations of nazism in Ukraine. But trigonal: On one side the observer Quisling (rightly) could pinpoint the criminal cruelty of Soviet policy in Ukraine; on the other side Quisling the nazi used the victim status of the Ukrainians as evidence of Ukrainians being an inferior breed – almost to the word the accusation that Putin presented before sending his troops cross the border.
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