For the approximately 200 Canadian military trainers currently deployed to Ukraine, it is likely that on the first of January they would have witnessed a torch lit procession. Throughout Kiev and numerous other towns in Western Ukraine, thousands of civilians took to the streets – not to usher in the New Year – but to celebrate the 110th anniversary of the birth of a man named Stepan Bandera.
This was not the first time Ukrainian nationalists marched with torches to celebrate Bandera’s birthday, but it was the first time such a spectacle was an officially sanctioned affair.
On December 28, 2018, Ukrainian Parliament passed Resolution 9234, which, among several other notable dates, made January 1 a formal holiday in Ukraine.
The city of Lviv, which was Bandera’s birthplace, went one step further by declaring 2019 to be the ‘Year of Stepan Bandera’.
Ukrainian Independent News Agency (UNIAN) described Bandera as “a Ukrainian politician, one of the ideologists and theorists of the Ukrainian nationalists movement in the 20th Century.”
Missing from this abbreviated resume is the fact that during World War II, Bandera was not only a Nazi collaborator, but also a direct participant in Hitler’s Holocaust.
Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine, Joel Lion published a statement announcing that he was “shocked” by this official honouring of a notorious Nazi. “I cannot understand how the glorification of those directly involved in horrible anti-Semitic crimes help fight anti-Semitism and xenophobia,” wrote Lion.
In June 1941, when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, Bandera was the Chairman of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). The Nazis saw Bandera and his fellow Ukrainian nationalists as natural allies in defeating the Soviets. In advance of the invasion, these ex-patriots were armed and equipped by the Germans and formed into a special unit called the Nachtigall battalion.
Roman Shukhevych was the commander of Nachtigall and he, like Bandera is currently revered as a Ukrainian nationalist hero. Unfortunately for their thousands of victims both Shukhevych and Bandera were bloodthirsty anti-Semites.
For several days at the end of June 1941, when Nachtigall had captured Lviv from the Soviets, a brutal extermination of Jews took place in the city. An estimated 4,000 – 6,000 Jews were slain in an orgy of bloodletting that shocked even the Nazi Germans.
Ambassador Lion noted that Bandera and Shukhevych are currently seen by many Ukrainians as “heroes who fought for Ukraine’s independence; whereas they were both historically a horror for the Jews.”
When the fortunes of war turned against Hitler, both Bandera and Shukevych turned against the Germans, and then in turn resisted the Soviets.
After Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, their initial collaboration with the Nazis and participation in the slaughter of Ukrainian Jews prevented Bandera and Shukevych from being considered national role models. However, much to the consternation of the Jews, and the Poles – whom Bandera’s OUN also massacred in the thousands – over the past three decades history in Ukraine has been revised.
At the time of the Maidan uprising in 2014, the spirit of Bandera was revived by the right wing, ultra-nationalists, and, just five years later, his past crimes have been whitewashed to the point where his date of birth is a national holiday.
In Canada, we have been joining in exactly the opposite direction with regard to re-assessing our historical figures. Only last year, the City of Halifax removed a statue of Lord Cornwallis from a central park.
He is still recognized as the founder of Halifax, but his policy of putting a bounty on the Mi’kmaq tribe was deemed contemptible in retrospect. Therefore, his likeness is no longer afforded public reverence.
Canada is committing military resources to the government in Kiev. Surely this does not amount to a blank cheque wherein Canada’s Global Affairs refrain from criticizing such a questionable policy as that of glorifying a Nazi with an official holiday? A good friendship often requires a good dose of plain talk and bad manners.
In this case, Canada would be wise to side with the Israelis and the Poles in condemning torch-lit parades to commemorate the birthday of a man responsible for slaughtering Jews.
One of the justifications for our military trainers being in Ukraine is to defend and support Canadian values. Last time I checked, Canadians still reviled Nazis.
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The State Department today released a long-awaited “retrospective” volume of declassified U.S. government documents on the 1953 coup in Iran, including records describing planning and implementation of the covert operation. The publication is the culmination of decades of internal debates and public controversy after a previous official collection omitted all references to the role of American and British intelligence in the ouster of Iran’s then-prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq. The volume is part of the Department’s venerable Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series.
For decades, neither the U.S. nor the British governments would acknowledge their part in Mosaddeq’s overthrow, even ...
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MINNEAPOLIS– The annual Global Peace Index, recently released for June 2017, has found that while the world is more peaceful now than last year, violence has increased significantly overall in the past decade.
Although the situation has improved in many countries, the ten lowest-ranking nations – known as the world’s “least peaceful” countries – have shown little change ...
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For many years, and despite all evidence to the contrary, the Western media has forwarded the inane idea that Vladimir Putin ranks in the same club with some of history's most loathsome creatures, up to and including Hitler.The reality is that the Russian leader has done more to promote the cause of global peace and security than any other Western leader in recent times. That explains why he is the object of such intense scorn.Putin's rise as a statesman of the first magnitude began, oddly enough, with the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 on the United States. Since that day, ...
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Iran 1953: State Department Finally Releases Updated Official History of Mosaddeq Coup
The Arab-Israel War of 1973 and Its Legacy
NATO adds to Turkey’s Chagrin
American Warmongering and Opportunism on Parade
An Overview of the Greek Genocide
The Operation Barbarossa II File: But Who will Prosecute?
Provoking the Russian Bear: NATO is “Cannon Fodder” for the American Empire
Countering NATO Propaganda on Russia: NATO Intervention in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Libya, Ukraine
9 of the World’s 10 Least Peaceful Nations were all Targeted by U.S. Intervention
A Chess Game in Global Politics
Why Vladimir Putin Deserves a Nobel Peace Prize
The UN Convention on War Crimes should be Applied to the United States
Five Times Corporate Media got Caught Publishing “Fake News” Causing the Death and Suffering of Millions
NATO: А Dangerous Paper Tiger
US Meddling in 1996 Russian Elections in Support of Boris Yeltsin
What’s in a Name? Everything and Nothing
The Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty
Corpus Delicti: How the Western Mainstream Propaganda Lies on Bosnian War (1992-1995)
Breaking Yugoslavia: How the US Used NATO as its Battering Ram
27 Million Died in Russia because Wall Street Built Up Hitler’s Wehrmacht to Knock Out Soviet Union
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