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The Forgotten Holocaust
October 22, 2006 7:41 AM   Subscribe

The largely forgotten holocaust of the Ukrainian people began when Stalin imposed collectivism upon the farms, sealing state borders & refusing any seed grain until ficticious and unattainable production goals were met. The Ukrainian upper class were executed, the peasantry left to starve to death. In all, seven million people died, one out of every four citizens. At this Ukranian art site, a collection of stamps commemorating the event & a gallery of "genocide art" continue to speak for the dead.
posted by jonson (55 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
The homepage of that Sovereignty site is rather interesting, in a possibly-affiliated-with-the-BNP type way.
posted by Artw at 7:45 AM on October 22, 2006


I had no idea there was a Ukranian holocaust. Thanks, jonson.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:51 AM on October 22, 2006


I read Dolot's Execution By Hunger and felt really bad for the people affected by it. Then I met actual Ukrainians, heard what they had to say about Russians and especially Jews, and figured that they probably deserved it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:53 AM on October 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


Back under the bridge Curley, no one's taking the bait. As for that Sovreignty site, don't get too hung up on the content, it's just one of several dozen to be hosting the Margolis article, originally published 3 years ago.
posted by jonson at 7:59 AM on October 22, 2006


Not to detract from the atrocity here, but has holocaust become an acceptable synonym for genocide? This is no doubt genocide, but I always thought that with the word's firey Greek origins and primary application to the Nazi genocide of certain groups of Europeans, that it doesn't make sense to use it for a genocide that didn't involve uh, fire.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 8:02 AM on October 22, 2006


Sorry, but when the site hosting the Stalin-bashing article is run by far-right types it's bound to get my interest. Especially when the site is run by an alleged holocaust denier.

I'd be first to say that Stalin was a very, very bad man, but I've always found the far-right is weirdly obsessesion with Stalin a bit suspect, mainly because it often comes over as an attempt to rehabilitate Hitler by comparison.
posted by Artw at 8:08 AM on October 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


Holocaust is generally only used to describe the Nazi atrocities against Jew, Gypsies and Unmentionables, but technically one of the dictionary meanings is "any mass slaughter or reckless destruction of life."

As to the sheer number of people murdered, Stalin made Hitler look like an amateur. I don't think the Hitlter regime could have gotten away with rounding up all the Jews if the US hadn't bought into the whole "Uncle Joe" meme...and the subsequent "Jews are behind Communism". The US administration was absolutely complicit in allowing Stalin to get away with murder.
posted by dejah420 at 8:14 AM on October 22, 2006


The US administration was absolutely complicit in allowing Stalin to get away with murder.

Can you elaborate on that? I don't get it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:19 AM on October 22, 2006


Mayor, you should try reading the first link in this post.

"The U.S., British, and Canadian governments, however, were well aware of the genocide, but closed their eyes, even blocking aid groups from going to Ukraine. "

"For the western Allies, Nazism was the only evil; they could not admit being allied to mass murderers. For the Soviets, promoting the Jewish Holocaust perpetuated anti-fascism and masked their own crimes. "

posted by jonson at 8:29 AM on October 22, 2006


Just read about this last week; another name for it is the Holodomor, a Ukrainian word that has something to do with famine.

From an identity politics perspective, it makes sense to have a name for every major genocide. If we hurry now, we can make sure they all start with holo-.

We should first take a crack at a name for the Armenian genocide. No answers if you're in Turkey, please; but note that if you live in France coming up with a name may be mandatory.
posted by adoarns at 8:41 AM on October 22, 2006


Mayor, you should try reading the first link in this post.

I did, but it's just some guy. I took Soviet history in college (in the mid 90's) and either I was the victim of some sort of pro-communist whitewash, or the points listed in the article are not nearly universally accepted. I read lots about terrible gulags and political executions, but that guy's pretty much accusing Stalin of everything except the Sharon Tate murders. Seven million killed and three million sent to gulags?

But it occurs to me that I am required to say "whatever." There certainly was an atrocity committed and it's bad form to question the depths of it. But I agree with Artw that someone's trying to whitewash Hitler by inflating Stalin's numbers.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:44 AM on October 22, 2006


Just some guy. But yeah, I'm sure your undergrad history course makes you the expert.
posted by jonson at 8:57 AM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


The wikipedia article on Holodomor makes for some interetsing reading, though from the looks of the edit history it's been a bit of a battleground.

It's certainly more interesting than TFA, which as Mayor Curley points out just seems to pull figures out of nowhere.
posted by Artw at 8:57 AM on October 22, 2006


> I agree with Artw that someone's trying to whitewash Hitler

Well, y'know, it's a done thing. Consider the number of folks right here in the neighborhood who're constantly trivializing and whitewashing the H-person by equating him with Bush. But I forgives 'em, because they know not what they do.
posted by jfuller at 9:00 AM on October 22, 2006


Oops. I munged the Wikipedia link.
posted by Artw at 9:03 AM on October 22, 2006


Just some guy. But yeah, I'm sure your undergrad history course makes you the expert.

Well, the people I read in my undergraduate history course cited sources.

And there's no way a "Regular commentator for FOX" would make shit up to further his agenda, right?
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:06 AM on October 22, 2006


Artw: I'd be first to say that Stalin was a very, very bad man, but I've always found the far-right is weirdly obsessesion with Stalin a bit suspect, mainly because it often comes over as an attempt to rehabilitate Hitler by comparison.

deja420: As to the sheer number of people murdered, Stalin made Hitler look like an amateur.

Tut-tut, you're both forgetting Mao.

Which one was the biggest mass murderer? It all depends on which metric you use.

(The link is from 'just some guy', but the figures seem similar to what I've seen elsewhere. If you have different ones, let's have 'em.)

From the same source: another depressing page on political mass murders in the 20th century.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:13 AM on October 22, 2006


Hitler, Stalin and MAo win if you don't weight for Length of Tyranny and Population Oppressed, however for my mony Pol Pots short reign of terror in tiny Cambodia makes him the Bloodiest Tyrant.
posted by Artw at 9:22 AM on October 22, 2006


"I'd be first to say that Stalin was a very, very bad man, but I've always found the far-right is weirdly obsessesion with Stalin a bit suspect, mainly because it often comes over as an attempt to rehabilitate Hitler by comparison."

I don't really see how pointing out Stalin's crimes absolves Hitler.
posted by TetrisKid at 9:36 AM on October 22, 2006


I think it's more likely that the Far right just really really hates the idea of Communism. The spectre of the evil empire drove the right's primary agenda for decades. If anything, the right seem to be pro-Israel/Judaism (at least when contrasted to Palestine/Islam).
posted by jonson at 9:45 AM on October 22, 2006


But it occurs to me that I am required to say "whatever." There certainly was an atrocity committed and it's bad form to question the depths of it. But I agree with Artw that someone's trying to whitewash Hitler by inflating Stalin's numbers.

No one is trying to whitewash Hitler. Some of us simply find it upsetting that, while even today the press continues to give play to any news of personal ties to Nazis and their antecedents (Gunther Grass, Joseph Ratzinger), the entire romance of the American left intelligentsia with Stalin gets handwaved away, nobody talks about Walter Duranty, and those who proselytized for and funded Stalin's little economic experiment are considers the victims rather than the perpretrators of oppression, their support for the party in the face of Soviet atrocities written off as the folly of youth.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:46 AM on October 22, 2006


How on earth does Hitler come into this? This is about a well-documented and too little known human catastrophe, directly caused by Stalin (with the help, of course, of the usual thugs and minions). Just pulling Montefiore's Stalin off my shelf at random, I find on p. 85 the statement that the death toll of the famine "was between four to five and as high as ten millian dead, a tragedy unequalled in human history except by the Nazi and Maoist terrors." I haven't got time to research more at the moment, but if that's not good enough for you, Mayor, there's plenty more out there and I can try to dig up as many citations as will convince you. I'm all for skepticism, but it's misplaced here. I'm sorry your undergraduate courses failed to expose you to this, but I was a Russian major and I wasn't told about it either, and I suspect we have lots of company.

Thanks for the post, jonson.
posted by languagehat at 9:58 AM on October 22, 2006


But yeah, I'm sure your undergrad history course makes you the expert.

why so snippy? is it about academic credentials around here? then what about yours? do you have tenure? and where?
and if you don't, you should either hide behind somebody more, ahem, prominent than Margolis or, simply, moderate your thread with a lighter hand.


no one's taking the bait

because you only waited six minutes.

see, there's no need for the Mayor to "bait" anyone -- your (rather clumsy, in my opinion) use of the word "holocaust" * for Stalin's massacres is enough by itself to fuel an interesting discussion -- mentioned above, and that we've had quite a few times already here anyway -- on the opportunity of using the word "holocaust". but then, it got to the point where the scholars down at PETA lecture about the "chicken holocaust", so I guess it's a useless battle at this point.


* not to mention, when talking about the destruction of the European Jews, one would probably be better off using "Shoah", instead, for reasons that again have ben stated many times.


anyway, moving on:

re: the Ukrainian attitude towards the Jews, it's interesting, for so many reasons, that things get more and more complex the more one reads about it.

I mean, it was the Ukrainian police that cheerfully helped out the SS perform some of the most appalling atrocities of WWII -- off the top of my head, the slaughter of about 1,200 Jews at Druszkopol. and the -- substantial -- Ukrainian's people role in helping the Final Solution's success is still being investigated -- for researchers is the (horrible) gift that keeps on giving. the real Ukrainian "Holocaust", ie the Ukrainian Shoah, has such massive importance that it has also been awarded the final pop culture accomplishment -- a Steven Spielberg documentary

and yeah, it's also true that it was Soviet (ie: commie!) troops -- the 60th Army of the First Ukrainian Front, to be precise -- to first enter Auschwitz and liberate the (very few) prisoners still there (about six thousand of them, if memory serves).

the Ukrainian Holocaust lies still at the very center of Ukrainian politics: last year Viktor Yushchenko, accused of extreme right wing -- even Nazi -- sympathies tried to milk his father's presence at Auschwitz -- as a prisoner -- for all it was worth (ironically, Yushchenko's wife won a libel case in against those who accused her of being, of all things, a CIA agent)

and then, of course, thousands of Ukrainians were deported to Germany during WWII as slave laborers, and many of them, coming home after the war, ended up in other labor camps. ah the (dreadful) irony, etc
posted by matteo at 9:58 AM on October 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


... because Walter Duranty never killed anybody and barely anybody remembers who he is, and because pretty much the entire American left intelligentsia now concurs that Stalin was a horrible mass murderer so it seems a little silly to continue to castigate them for something they admit was a terrible mistake, and because they didn't actually, you know, kill anybody either (or, at least, not very many people)? And therefore they're kind of a footnote compared to Stalin himself, who actually killed lots of people?
posted by kyrademon at 10:01 AM on October 22, 2006


(That was intended to be a reply to ishmaelgraves)
posted by kyrademon at 10:02 AM on October 22, 2006


and by the way Stalin himself -- in the famous December 1931 interview -- told Emil Ludwig that 90% of the country supported the revolution, the rest was made of enemies. you do the math

but then, Russians have historically been treated like that by their rulers -- Ivan... Peter... Stalin...

still, if we're exhuming old Uncle Joe's corpse for a little fearmongering, I have a better story, and the bonus is it's true -- in Potsdam Churchill shakes Stalin's hand and says, "You entered Berlin, congratulations". Stalin, quite glumly, answers: "Yes, but Alexander I entered Paris"
posted by matteo at 10:18 AM on October 22, 2006


How on earth does Hitler come into this?

The link to a site run by a holocaust denier would seem to do it.

No one is trying to whitewash Hitler. Some of us simply find it upsetting that, while even today the press continues to give play to any news of personal ties to Nazis and their antecedents (Gunther Grass, Joseph Ratzinger), the entire romance of the American left intelligentsia with Stalin gets handwaved away

TBH when I was talking about the far-right I was thinking more about the NF, BNP and miscellaneous holocaust deniers. I didn't really want to smear the Neocon Fighting Keyboarders into this, but yes, it IS true that they're also obsessed with Stalin and use him exhaustively for making strawman attacks on "The Left".
posted by Artw at 10:25 AM on October 22, 2006


I just want to thank everyone for spelling "Ukrainian" correctly instead of "Ukranian."
posted by etaoin at 10:26 AM on October 22, 2006


matteo, read closer - my "no one's taking the bait" was in response to MC's assertation that the Ukrainian's deserved to starve to death. To this moment no one has taken him up on that point. Just to be clear, though, are you defending his comment?

Also, you too could benefit by reading the article linked; the choice of the word "holocaust", clumsy or not, wasn't mine. It's the title of the article.

But other than that, thanks for chiming in.
posted by jonson at 10:35 AM on October 22, 2006


because Walter Duranty never killed anybody and barely anybody remembers who he is, and because pretty much the entire American left intelligentsia now concurs that Stalin was a horrible mass murderer so it seems a little silly to continue to castigate them for something they admit was a terrible mistake, and because they didn't actually, you know, kill anybody either (or, at least, not very many people)?

New York Times, for whom Duranty wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning articles denying the starvation, still duly lists his name every year when they print their list of past PP honorees. Kind of pathetic, really.

What irritates the right (and even middle roaders), I expect, is the total failure of good for the goose, good for the gander thing. I mean the fact that communist memorabilia is widely considered cute, kitschy, socially acceptable, even, I am told, "inspiring", while Nazi stuff is, rightly, a sign of gross insensitivity.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:02 AM on October 22, 2006


Possibly because no-one wearing a soviet star goes around "Paki-bashing"?
posted by Artw at 11:08 AM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


The teacher was telling a class of Soviet schoolchildren what a kind man Stalin had been.
"One day ", she said, "he was standing outside his dacha shaving himself with a bowl of water and an open razor. A little boy came to watch him and asked him what he was doing. "I'm, shaving little boy", Stalin said.
"Why did that make Stalin a kind man?" asked one of the class.
"Don't you see", said the teacher, "he could have cut the little boy's throat but he didn't".
posted by Meatbomb at 11:15 AM on October 22, 2006


the real Ukrainian "Holocaust", ie the Ukrainian Shoah

matteo, I'm sure you didn't mean it that way, but it reads as if you're saying that the mass starvation jonson posted about is somehow not "real" because the Ukrainians went on to kill Jews. Playing that kind of tit-for-tat is pointless and depressing: yeah, the Turks are killing the Kurds, but that's OK because the Kurds helped them massacre the Armenians; the Germans killed a lot of Russians but that's OK because the Russians killed a lot of Chechens; hell, you can go back to the Jews driving the Jebusites out of Jerusalem. Every tragedy has roots and consequences, but each killing has to be placed on its own page of the moral balance sheet. How did "the Ukrainian attitude towards the Jews" come into this, anyway? The post was about the mass murder of Ukrainians.
posted by languagehat at 11:31 AM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


An article about the Pulitzer issue, written while rescinding it was under consideration. It gives a lot of historical context. Interesting stuff.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:50 AM on October 22, 2006


Thanks for that very interesting article. I've despised Duranty for years, and while I'm not about to change my general attitude, that certainly introduces a welcome complexity into my thoughts on the subject.
posted by languagehat at 12:04 PM on October 22, 2006


No one is trying to whitewash Hitler.

Indeed. The interesting comparison is how the far right and far left result in the same thing: tyranny, despotism, and mass murder. Two sides of the same coin, or opposite ends that meet in a circle, it's hard to say, but the empirical evidence of the 20th century is certainly hard to ignore.

Stalin was a piece of work, but the famine Lenin visited on the peasantry after the first World War was a tough act to follow.
posted by three blind mice at 12:21 PM on October 22, 2006


On a Discovery show last night dealing with idiot-savants, the claim was made that Stalin was a savant. First I had heard of this. Any of you Russian scholars know any details?
posted by vronsky at 1:02 PM on October 22, 2006


Also, you too could benefit by reading the article linked; the choice of the word "holocaust", clumsy or not, wasn't mine. It's the title of the article.

But other than that, thanks for chiming in.


OK, then.

the article linked? do you mean the main link? it's a Holocaust denier's site, jonson. you know, the Jews, Hitler, etc -- that Holocaust. that's your link.
" I don't accept that gas chambers were used to execute Jews for the simple fact there is no direct physical evidence to show that such gas chambers ever existed... there are no photographs or film of execution gas chambers... Alleged eyewitness accounts are revealed as false or highly exaggerated."

I wanted to let it slide because, after all, it's a Sunday, but since you insist: did you post a link to a Holocaust denier's site out of simple ignorance, to give traffic to his site, to spread Holocaust denial propaganda, or was is it simply a mistake provoked by the irrepressible need to post something every day, under different usernames, for months on end on MeFi?

I'm assuming it was mostly ignorance/stupidity on your part, and not actual malice (not that I care).

but thanks for chiming in
posted by matteo at 1:43 PM on October 22, 2006


and by the way, you should tag that link as nsfw, at least.

MeTa

posted by matteo at 1:55 PM on October 22, 2006


Matteo, you really have a chip on your shoulder about this one. Sorry I embarassed you. By the way, I'm still not clear. You're saying you agree with Mayor Curley, the Ukrainian's did have the starvation genocide coming to them, then?
posted by jonson at 2:14 PM on October 22, 2006


jonson I hate to come over as pedantic on such a grave matter, but I think that Margolis makes his case a disservice by talking of a genocide (never mind a "Ukrainian holocaust", which is always going to raise some hackles). A genocide is the planned eradication of an ethnic group. What happened in Ukraine was mass murder by any definition, but I don't think it was genocide as such. If you think you can provide evidence to argue otherwise, please do. Margolis' article, regardless of his authority, is an opinion piece, rather than a factual presentation.
posted by Skeptic at 2:30 PM on October 22, 2006


I've been reading Alan Durst's "historical espionage" books lately (very, very good and very, very well researched), and his view of Stalin is that rather than some Machiavellian type, he is better understood as the town bully/petty criminal who kills someone for no rational reason that anyone can explain, mostly because he can and because a show of brutal strength is intuitively seen by such people as self-justifying.

Incidentally, the plot of one of the books centers around a somewhat historically plausible speculation that Stalin was a Okhrana (czarist secret police) informant among the Georgian Bolshevik movement.

All of Durst's books present Europe during the years of 1933 through 1945, with an emphasis on the Soviet military intelligence service, the GRU, and the political intelligence service/secret police, the NKVD, and both service's operatives working in Western Europe. As such, a frequent theme in his books are the purges that characterized the period of the late 1930s.

One delight of Furst's books is his ear for that mordant and understated humor so typically Russian. One of my favorite passages describes a senior intelligence officer telling a subordinate that Nikolai Yezhov, a man of very short stature and oft-characterized as a "dwarf", had succeeded purged and executed Genrikh Yagoda as head of the service. "A dwarf?", the junior agent asks. "Yes. The Great Leader exceeds himself in whimsy", replied the senior agent.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:37 PM on October 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


The Duranty article that Spiggot posted is excellent. (Yay CJR!) Thanks George!

I'd like to throw my hat in with those who seek to distinguish genocide, holocaust, shoah, and mass murder. The Ukrainians are clearly a people, so the 'genocide' claim applies. It needn't be an ideologically-rationalized state policy that intentionally sets out to destroy the people of Ukraine to constitute a genocide; intention matter much less than effects. Just look at the situation in Darfur.
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:54 PM on October 22, 2006


Matteo, you really have a chip on your shoulder about this one.

Are you fucking kidding me, jonson? You post a link to the front page to a Holocaust denial site and the best you can offer as an apology is that *matteo* has a chip on his shoulder?

Jesus, dude. Say you're fucking sorry.
posted by mediareport at 6:13 PM on October 22, 2006


No, no you misunderstand, mediareport. I am 100% sorry about posting a link to a holocaust denial site, and I hope everyone believes me when I say that I had no idea that the root site of an article that is widely available was run by a known holocaust denier. Not following British politics, I'd never heard of the guy, and didn't spend much time on his site seeing who he was, as the only thing I was interested in there was the Margolis article.

Silly, regardless, as the point of the thread was the artwork I found at Art Ukraine, which no one at all commented on...

As for Matteo, he definitely has a bit of a hard on for me. Possibly recent, possibly longstanding. Witness here, where he attacks me directly for saying I don't like Iraq posts, but attacks zero others in the thread (notably Matt & Jess) for saying the same thing. Or here, where he calls my use of the word "Holocaust" clumsy, even though I'm just quoting the article's title. Or here, where he attacks the frequency with which I post to the homepage.

I mean, like me or dislike me, mediareport (although I think it's pretty clear that you're in the latter camp) you'd have to admit that Matteo's got it in for me a little here. Which is weird, cause I haven't said shit to him prior to these posts of his. The worst part is that I really do think he feels that it's okay that the Ukrainians were systematically starved to death by the millions because they were enemies of the jews, which is kind of horrific. I think that because both languagehat & I seprately and repeatedly asked him about it in this thread and he wouldn't deny it, despite continuing to comment here. Kind of monstrous, and unlike my foolish mis-link up top, not at all accidental.
posted by jonson at 6:39 PM on October 22, 2006


Incidentally, the plot of one of the books centers around a somewhat historically plausible speculation that Stalin was a Okhrana (czarist secret police) informant among the Georgian Bolshevik movement.

I think this is discussed in Radzinsky's biography of Stalin, if you want to look at the basis for the idea.
posted by dilettante at 6:40 PM on October 22, 2006


I am 100% sorry about posting a link to a holocaust denial site

Yeah, that works. Thank you.

I mean, like me or dislike me, mediareport (although I think it's pretty clear that you're in the latter camp)

Wtf? What on earth makes you think I dislike you? You're fine with me, really. I just think that when folks post links to Holocaust denial sites, they should apologize. You hadn't, and that "chip on the shoulder" comment came in response to matteo's MeTa link, and seemed to me clearly aimed at his persistent holding your feet to the fire on the Holocaust denial link, where you had zero ground to stand.

That said, while Mayor Curley's comment reads like an excuse, I think matteo's first comment was fairly reasonable and informative, and was legitimately sparked by your Holocaust denial error. Ultimately, languagehat's right - that kind of tit-for-tat *is* pointless - but it hardly counts as "having a chip on your shoulder" to bring up Ukranian complicity in the Jewish holocaust in a thread whose main link was to a revisionist web site.
posted by mediareport at 6:57 PM on October 22, 2006


Wtf? What on earth makes you think I dislike you?

Ever since I deleted the list I can't keep track anymore. Sorry. And to be clear, I apologized immediately, over here in the MetaTalk thread. I didn't apologize in here, however (until now) and I can see why reading my exchange with Matteo can seem like I'm just being upset since he foiled my nefarious "send more people to the British holocaust denier think tank" plan. But in truth, I'm just curious why the guy has it in for me. When I challenged Curley's "I've never heard of Margolis, and I took a course on this stuff in college", Matteo chimed in with "oh yeah, well where do YOU have tenure????" He just keeps taking weird little cheap shots. Oh well, I must've said something that set him off at some point. You know how thin skinned homosexuals are, am I right?
posted by jonson at 7:08 PM on October 22, 2006


1) that was meant to read "over here in the Metatalk thread", and

2) I can't even keep a straight face on how much I'm just yanking your chain with that last comment. Damn, I must be losing my touch.
posted by jonson at 7:09 PM on October 22, 2006


Ok, I think we can all agree on some things, and then move forward; everyone agrees that the Jewish Shoah (The Nazi Final Solution), otherwise known as The Holocaust occurred. Many Jews were killed. Many Gypsies were killed. Many homosexuals and other "deviants and enemys of the state" were killed...under Hitler's direction, upon his orders, and he and the rest of the Nazi's are culpable and responsible. That was a horrific and brutal chapter in modern history and it should never be forgotten.

Just next door to Hitler, was our buddy Unca Joe. Stalin committed a series of atrocities that killed millions and millions of people. The numbers vary, but are estimated between 5 million and 10 million people. This too is a horrific and brutal chapter in modern history and it should never be forgotten. And yet...it is. Very few people know about it, there is very little discussion of it in American textbooks. I think we can all agree that the scale of atrocity isn't important, but knowledge about, and discussion of the atrocity is something that needs to happen.

Stalin's atrocities don't have anything to do with Hitler's atrocities. Mentioning Stalin does not thereby exonerate Hitler somehow. That's crazy talk.

In modern memory there was Pol Pot, there's the current maelstrom of death and evil riding hell for leather across Africa. These too are atrocities that everyone should know about, lest we keep doing the same thing, over and over. (And in the case of Africa, perhaps we could all band together and put a stop to it? )

The point of this post, despite linking to a site most find objectionable, is a strong one. This genocide happened, why is there virtually no recognition of it? Furthermore, genocides are currently happening...why is there no recognition of that? How did Hitler get away with concentration camps, and Stalin starve a country to death? The same way that Darfur is currently swimming in the blood of it's children.

Because nobody in power cares enough to stop it.
posted by dejah420 at 7:33 PM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Damn it, Spiggott, I've got too many years of despising Duranty to have to texture my thinking about him now!

(Interesting article, thank you.)
posted by IndigoJones at 7:55 PM on October 22, 2006


Sometimes when I'm feeling a little down, I imagine myself as Josef Stalin and have most of you executed for being retards. And it feels really nice. And I wish that I was Stalin because I would totally do it and then have a nice lunch and a nap, then wake up refreshed and ready to see if you had any descendants to assign "accidents" to.

And I would worry about nailing tomorrow's speech to the Politburo instead of your ugly widows. Because you know that Josef Stalin didn't sweat the small stuff.

And you can bitch about Stalin all you want, but it's just jealousy because you know deep down that even if you apply yourself like you always promise yourself, you will never have one-tenth as many people killed in your lifetime as he did in one year. Admit it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:08 PM on October 22, 2006 [4 favorites]


Okay, now that was pretty damn funny. Congrats, MC!
posted by jonson at 8:11 PM on October 22, 2006


I've always found the far-right is weirdly obsessesion with Stalin a bit suspect, mainly because it often comes over as an attempt to rehabilitate Hitler by comparison.

No, it comes across as an attempt to smear everyone with politics to the left of Zell Miller by association. (As established above, just not in so many words.)

cute, kitschy, socially acceptable, even

I would hope, IndigoJones, that you would be able to appreciate the level of irony in making Mao an object of mass reproduction. I'm sure, of course, that not every Warhol consumer grasps the level of discourse, but you seem to have the potential to at least see that it's there.

At the same time, it is the above determined, continuous campaign to link all liberalism to the crimes of Stalin and Mao (and Pol Pot, but fewer have heard of him, so he doesn't come up as much you know), that leads inevitably to a reappropriation of the historical symbology of Communism. At the same time, it must be acknowledged that Nazism had a history of some 12 years, of which half were engaged in a world war, largely limited to a single state which did commit genocide, while Communism has an ongoing history of some 90 years across multiple national entities only a few of which have been implicated in genocide under certain historical periods. The history of one is, then, certainly more complex than the other. Disingenuous attempts at equation should be treated as disingenuous -- as propaganda. And, of course, there's that matter of being allied with us in war against a common foe, whom we could not have defeated without their assistance. History, then, makes it difficult to paint judgements in black and white, and maybe it's an historical accident that one is eternally vilified and the other rehabilitated.

Or maybe it's not the symbols that are annoying, but the continued popularity of the basic collectivist idea. And -- I don't think this is going too far -- the continued vilification of the basic fascist idea. The marriage of corporate business with governance and all that. Is it really the kitsch, or is it more substantive?

Now, if I were the Times, I think I'd strongly consider returning Duranty's Pulitzer.
posted by dhartung at 8:39 PM on October 22, 2006


I would hope, IndigoJones, that you would be able to appreciate the level of irony in making Mao an object of mass reproduction. I'm sure, of course, that not every Warhol consumer grasps the level of discourse, but you seem to have the potential to at least see that it's there.


Oh, I get it all right, I just don't think it overcomes my objections. (I also have to doubt that Warhol was that subtle a thinker. This is the guy who did silkscreens of money because someone suggested he take as a subject whatever it was he loved most. A toss up between money and pills, I expect.)

Politics aside (please!), my suggestion is that mass murderers of whatever stripe are not a reasonable subject for decorative art, and I wonder what it says about those who produce and display it. N.B. the qualifier, decorative- like Greek tragedy, horrific subjects in representational art has its place in public on an occasional basis, to keep us on our moral toes- but to have the self satisfied grin of a Mao or a Stalin or a Lenin staring down on the breakfast table on a daily basis, and knowing what they did- creepy, to say the least.

And again, would he or any other artist have gotten away with silkscreens of Hitler? (Interesting that Hitler is suitable for comedic abuse, esp. in the UK, but the dreary crimes of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, never enter that arena. No immediate emotional connection, I guess. Probably some thesis paper on this someplace.)
posted by IndigoJones at 7:33 PM on November 18, 2006


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