May 16, 2021 Letters
May 9, 2021 marks the 76th Anniversary of the victory over Hitlerite fascism in Europe and the end of the Second World War.
That victory came at a very great cost to the peoples of the World, particularly the people of Europe. The amount of persons who died has never been correctly known. A conservative estimate puts it at almost sixty million people.
The Soviet people, particularly the Russian people, faced the brunt of the aggression and lost some twenty-seven million souls. It was a bloody and destructive war.
Apart from those who died, the destruction and the sufferings were just terrible. Millions of people were displaced. Some starved to death as happened in the hero city of Leningrad, which was under siege for more than 900 days. Cities such as Minsk, Warsaw and Berlin were almost totally destroyed; very few buildings were left standing.
The victory of May 9, 1945 not only came at a very high price, it had a powerful impact on International relations.
Democracy was saved in Europe from the vicious fascist dictatorship. That victory moreover laid the foundation from the end of Colonial domination. India and China were the first to put an end to their Colonial and semi-colonial status. That was followed by sweeping victories in Africa, first Ghana in 1957 and Nigeria in 1960 and later the Caribbean.
New International Institutions arose to try to see that such wars would never happen again. The United Nations is the most important of these. Over the years, despite problems and setbacks, it has done a great job in trying to keep our world safe. It has succeeded over the past 76 years to do so.
At this very moment, we are struggling to end the Coronavirus that has spread throughout the world. The role of the World Health Organisation (WHO), an arm of the UN is very central to our efforts.
Clearly, humankind owes a lot to the Allied forces that defeated the fascist. However, we must acknowledge the leading role of the Russian and other Soviet peoples in breaking the back of the fascist. The heroism of these people, their sacrifices must never be forgotten.
This is important since there are very few people who are alive today that experienced that horrible war. The world leaders of today have all been born after these horrific events or were infants.
Naturally, memories are fading. The lesson of those times seem to have been forgotten. Many of the pledges made after that war are now being forgotten or just lost over time.
A this very moment we see news coming out of Israel where Palestinian people who lived in East Jerusalem are being forcibly removed from their homes where they lived all their lives, to accommodate Jewish settlers. Israel a state created in 1948 has become an Apartheid state and is using fascist methods against the native Palestinian people. The Gaza Strip and the West Bank are really just open prisons, reminiscent of fascism in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.
At the global level, we see the dangerous spread of weapons of mass destruction. We are cynically being told that these weapons are keeping the peace! How crazy can the world become!
The fact is these weapons have created an atmosphere of terror. It is a drive for world domination. On the one hand and on the other those states that are determined not to be dominated have acquired these weapons or are trying to acquire these deadly weapons as protection. This is obvious madness and the “peace” we have is due to the balance of terror! Not real peace.
As memories fade, greed has grown. Today the arms manufacturers are making trillions of dollars. A casual glance at the military spending of the top ten countries in the world show how much of the world’s resources are being wasted on these weapons. These corporations have very strong links at the highest levels of governments and are incentivised to instigate wars, local and regional wars, while keeping a large part of the world frightened. The arms race goes on! To keep up this madness the peoples of the world are conditioned by the mass media to believe that such weapons are in our interest. How cynical can we get?
For instance, before the collapse of the Soviet Union we were told that communism was the problem.
Added to this is the deliberate attempt to minimise the importance of that war for our world. In the drive to demonise Russia, war Memorials honouring the heroic feats of the Red Army Soldiers are being pulled down in Europe. These acts are criminal and are minimising the importance of that victory. Thus downplaying the horrors of war.
Well, ‘communism’ in Eastern Europe has collapsed. Russia and the former socialist countries of Europe are all capitalist states now. Yet the arms race has become more intense than ever before.
Clearly, the problem was never communism. As President Dwight Eisen, however warned us as far back as 1960, we must beware of the growing power of “the Military Industrial Complex” which was influencing every aspect of life. His warning apparently has not been heeded. The Military Industrial Complex has succeeded to spread its influence throughout the world. New enemies are constantly being created to justify more military spending.
However, it is not too late for the peace-loving and democratic forces throughout the world to make their voices heard. We must stop this madness, this waste of scarce resources, this drive that is pushing the world towards a nuclear disaster, threatening all life on earth. We must demand Nuclear Disarmament now while we pursue total disarmament.
That would be the greatest tribute, the best way to honour the lives of the millions that were lost to defeat fascism and to uphold freedom and democracy in our world.
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