Previous posts in this discussion:
PostIn Italy, All the News is Biased Towards Ukraine (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 03/20/22 4:02 am)
My thanks to Consoly León for her post of March 16th on Russian disinformation during this war.
As a kid under WWII bombing and its aftermath, I was a fan of radio broadcasts to understand what was going on. With my mother, we always listened to Radio Londra to better understand the war but never, never, did we act in a way that could endanger the possibility of victory. On the contrary, all our actions were in service of a goal that never came.
I can understand very well the "special operations news" inside Russia to unite the home front, but I wonder why we have "war news" in Italy (and throughout the West). The censorship is overflowing against anything Russian, from sports, culture, arts, even animal shows, etc. Just one example: the newsman Manlio Dinucci of the leftwing newspaper Il Manifesto (founded more than 50 years ago by radical communists) lost his job because he refused to change a sentence from "in response to pressure Russia reacted" to "in response to pressure Russia assailed." At least in a so-called democracy--lay democratic and antifascist born from the resistance--a journalist should be free to choose verbs, then the reader should judge.
On the contrary, while I admire Marina Ovsyannikova, I consider her action wrong. When the country is at war it is important not to do anything that can damage the home front, then after victory let's settle the political problem and if necessary even put the leaders on trial. (My thoughts here always turn to President Bush II.) Remember that if the country loses the war, everybody will be punished by the victors. It does not matter if one was a collaborator, he or she may become a political leader but will always remain a lackey of the victor.
Italy has hundreds of TV channels but practically only one of them provides some news from Moscow. Practically all have censored news from Russia, while pushing Ukrainian/NATO propaganda doing their best to shed tears on the poor victimized Ukrainians by the "evil" Putin.
Answering Zelensky, President Biden has publicly recognized that the Empire is sending arms and advisors/instructors and just a short time ago also troops for joint military exercises in Ukraine. I just wonder what would be the reaction in the US if Russia sent arms and carrying out military exercises just south of the Rio Grande.
JE comments: Bastian, no need for quotation marks around the evil Putin. Aren't the Ukrainians being victimized, period? But there may be some Western bias regarding Ukraine's successes on the battlefield. The assumption is that Putin has all but lost the war in Ukraine--yet it drags on.
There is one victimized group that gets little sympathy from the West--the 18-year-old Russian conscripts being fed into the meat grinder.
In Praise of Marina Ovsyannikova
(Paul Levine, Denmark
03/23/22 3:00 AM)
Our resident gadfly Eugenio Battaglia has criticized a Russian television producer for going on air to expose the Russian "special military operation" as an aggressive "war." Eugenio wrote: "While I admire Marina Ovsyannikova, I consider her action wrong. When the country is at war it is important not to do anything that can damage the home front, then after victory let's settle the political problem and if necessary even put the leaders on trial."
Essentially, Eugenio is accusing Ovsyannikova of treason; Putin agrees and in Russia simply calling the "special military operation" a "war" can cost her 15 years in prison. But, strangely enough, in a recent interview in Der Spiegel she says she is a "patriot." She rejected an offer of asylum in France because she wanted to remain in Russia. WAIS readers can read the article here and decide for themselves if she is a patriot or a traitor.
Let's see where Eugenio's doctrine leads: In 1942 a group of idealistic German students formed a clandestine group called "Weisse Rose" to protest non-violently against Hitler's policies. They were discovered in 1943 and put on trial for treason. The leaders, including Sophie and Hans Scholl, were executed on the guillotine.
On the other hand, ordinary Germans who pushed men, women and children into gas chambers in the concentration camps must have been patriots for aiding, not damaging, the home front. Eugenio's political idol, Benito Mussolini, could not have said it better. But if I remember correctly, his "war" did not exactly end in "victory" and he ended up being hung upside down by his own citizens. (This is my favorite photo of Il Duce.)
But I guess they all must have been traitors too.
JE comments: Click below for the Der Spiegel interview. I agree: the grandest act of patriotism is to put one's life and livelihood at risk to save one's country from itself. Very few of us have the courage to do such a thing.
At the time of the interview (March 17th), Ovsyannikova said she is "in hiding." Is this still the case?
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Was John Amery a Traitor?
(Eugenio Battaglia, Italy
03/26/22 3:16 PM)
In his post of March 23rd, Paul Levine brought up the topic of traitors, with an excellent comment by our esteemed moderator: "The grandest act of patriotism is to put one's life at risk to save a country from itself."
Therefore, I would like to remember a "traitor" who never fired a shot against his compatriots--John Amery, son of British FM Leopold S. Amery, who on 26 March 1941 made a speech broadcast in Serbian in which he pushed for the fatal coup against the legitimate Yugoslavian government that had just joined the Axis, the first cause of the defeat of the latter.
After fighting in the Spanish Civil War against the "Reds," John Amery continued his "crusade" against Bolshevism and in favor of the Fascist social system by making speeches on radio and to workers/people at Genoa, Turin, Biella, Cremona, and Milan, as well as meeting Mussolini several times.
On 23 April 1945 he was in the. uniform of the Repubblica Sociale Italiana, but refused to carry arms in order not to fire on his countrymen. He tried to join Mussolini for the last stand in Valtellina. Unfortunately, he missed Mussolini and proceeded toward Valtellina with a young French lady Michelle Thomas.
He was captured by Italian partisans who were convinced to hand him to the British forces in Milan. Among them was the newsman Alan Wicker, who took the famous macabre photos of Mussolini hanging upside down--the image so much liked by Paul Levine.
John Amery was transferred to England and put on trial for treason. The trial lasted 8 (eight) minutes (sic) and he was hanged on 19 December 1945. South Africa PM Jan Smuts asked for mercy but to no avail. The hangman Albert Pierrepoint referred to Amery Senior that his son was the most courageous man he had ever met.
The reconciled father wrote a short poem to John:
At the end of wayward days, he found a cause
T'was not his Country's--Only time can tell
If defiance of our ancient laws
Was treason or foreknowledge.
He sleeps well.
His body was buried inside the prison. Only in 1966 was his brother allowed to collect his body and cremate him. The ashes, according to his will, were scattered in France.
On a personal note to Paul Levine:
I am not enthusiastic about.the epithet "gadfly" instead of Bastian Contrario. Gadfly sounds really like an insult, Bastian Contrario instead can indicate a troublesome fellow but also someone who goes against the current, sometimes even in a positive way.
JE comments: Eugenio, society needs it gadflies to keep us in check! There's nothing inherently insulting about it, but I will henceforth do the necessary editing.
As for Amery, he was also instrumental in recruiting British POWs for the SS. This, not his support of Mussolini, is probably what sealed his fate. It sounds like treason to me.
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- Was John Amery a Traitor? (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 03/26/22 3:16 PM)