I just got home from a 6 hour long trip to get my daughter to college. On the way home, I was alone in the van, driving through the huge Ocala National Forest, and I wanted to listen to some music and just think. While I was going through the 32GB of music on my player I realize that there were two artists whom I used to love but whose music I did not want to listen to: Yuri Shevchuk and Boris Grebenshchikov (aka “BG”). But let me backtrack first and explain.
I love Florida and I am happy here. But my nostalgia for Russia is like an open wound, always open, always hurting. One of the ways I found to transport myself to Russia, if just a little bit, is to listen to Russian music. Sometimes, doing this makes the pain even worse, but often this works like a kind of short-acting anesthetic: I feel like I am at home, amongst my people, where I can let my guard down and just be myself, if only for the duration of a song or two. Truly, this is hard to explain and only an exile can really understand how powerful a song from back home can hit you when you are far, far way, even in a beautiful place. And I have been away for 20 years now…
And yet today, I did not want listen to my two favorite singers. Something in me told me that it would only hurt, but provide no comfort. Why?
First I bash some Russians
I used to say that one should never conflate the artist and his/her talent with his/her political views. Even during my years of rabid anti-Communism I loved to listen to Mercedes Sosa and I still love to listen to Richard Strauss, even though he, unlike Wagner, was, if I am not mistaken, a bona fide Nazi. Listening to Bill Evans (my favorite Jazz musician) does not mean that I endorse heroin any more than listening to Bach (my favorite Baroque composer) makes me a Protestant.
And yet I don’t want to listen to Shevchuk or BG any more.
Shevchuk’s hatred of Putin is so stupid and so crude that it got him on a very short list (just under 40 names, iirc) of “Russian friends of the Ukraine” issued by the Ukronazi junta in Kiev (the list of banned Russian personalities currently includes, iirc, over 600 names, including Pushkin) . As for BG, he actually traveled to Odessa to and joined Mikhail Saakashvili on a barbecue party where BG sang for the man.
Now I know that both Shevchuk and BG have fried their brains – Shevchuk pickled his with vodka while BG shrunk his own with LSD and other drugs.
But my problem is not with their brains, it is with their heart! How does their heart not tell them that the conflict in the Ukraine is not just ‘a’ conflict, but the armed expression of the most rabid and hate-filled russophobia ever. How can they not know, not feel, that even the German Nazis never had so much hatred for Russia in their hearts as the Ukrainian nationalists?! Conversely, how do they not realize that those fighting for the freedom of the Donbass are not just your garden variety separatists but quite literally modern day heroes who took up arms to resist absolute, genocidal evil?
There is another Russian singer whom I love: Vladimir Vyssotskii (1938-1980) who wrote a beautiful song called the “Ballad about Struggle” in which he describes how when children read books about heroes always imagine themselves in the role of the hero but that it is important as an adult to really take a stance against evil. You can check out this song interpreted by a Novorussian solider with subtitles from Tatzhit here: http://thesaker.is/novorossiya-militiaman-singing-ballad-of-the-struggle-by-vysotsky-eng-subs/. I would like to translate just the last part of the song again, not so much in a poetic way (something I am quite unable to do), but in an attempt to convey the key ideas:
You cannot forever live in dreams
Fun times do not last very long
There is so much pain around
Try to pry open the hands of the dead
And grab the weapon they hold
And see for yourself, having grabbed the still warm sword
And donned the combat armor
The true value of things
Find out for yourself whether you are a hero or a coward
And experience the real taste of combat
If you have never had your meat off a knife
And if you have just observed it all with your arms crossed
And if you have never challenged the traitor or the torturer in combat
Then it means that your life was entirely worthless and vain
But if you hacked your way with your father’s sword
And if you have swallowed your tears
And if you have found out the true value of things
In a real combat
Then the books your have read as a kid were the right ones.
I first heard the song when I was 17 and for me it was clear: my life would be the proof of my own worth and the worth of my upbringing. At that moment I decided that I would not just stand by and observe, but that I would fight evil as soon as I could identify it. True, I was naive and ignorant, and instead of making my own judgments about what was good and evil, I swallowed the propaganda which was fed to me by my family and the society I lived in. But that desire to stand up for what is right and good and to oppose evil is something which I never lost, even when I understood that the ideals of my youth were wrong.
There is a point to this digression and it is this: I believe that no matter how talented artists like Shevchuk and BG are, both their life and their talent are wasted because they missed this key moment in Russia’s history: the moment when absolute evil showed it ugly face yet again and attacked. What this also shows to me is the total disconnect between these artists and the people they supposedly take their inspiration from: the Russian people (who support Putin at the 85%+ range). And that is, alas, an old Russian disease.
It is the curse of the Russian people that our (supposed) intelligentsia always feels like it needs to validate itself by opposing the regime in power: to be a “real artist” you just have to be in opposition to whomever is in power – it gives you this special “chic” of a self-declared “conscience of the people”, a sort of “martyr by proxy” where the artist himself is left completely unmolested and lives the good life, but somehow “feels” and “expresses” the sorrow of those (innocent ones, of course!) whom the regime “persecutes”. And Shevchuk fell into that trap. And if that was the full extend of his personal dislike for Putin I would not give a damn about his views. But Shevchuk’s dislike for Putin is so ideologically driven that it follows that whatever Putin does is also, by definition, bad. Even when Putin stands up to the Nazis in Kiev or the AngloZionist Empire. As for BG – his position is even worse. He does not give a damn about “politics” or “governments” at all. Which would be all well and dandy if it wasn’t for the fact that others, much less privilege than him, are sacrificing their lives or limbs to oppose evil. And so, indeed, And if you have just observed it all with your arms crossed. And if you have never challenged the traitor or the torturer in combat. Then it means that your life was worthless.
Yehuda Bower put it even more simply:
Thou shalt not be a victim.
Thou shalt not be a perpetrator.
And above all,
Thou shalt not be a bystander.
For all their immense talent, Shevchuk and BG completely missed the key moment where their heart should have told them to take a stand. But their hearts remained silent. And so I don’t want to listen to them any more.
And that feeling of not wanting to listen to them is not limited to them.
Next, I bash a few Americans Leftists
For years I have listened to David Rovics whom I interviewed for this blog and whom I called the “beautiful voice of the American resistance”. His amazing lyrics, always set to beautiful melodies, where like a breath of fresh air in a country where the zombification of the general public has reached truly Orwellian levels. Sure, I was baffled how Rovics could clearly not “get it” about 911, but I also realized that he was what I called a “Chomskyite”, i.e., somebody who “unless Chomsky said so” just does not see things. Just like Amy Goodman or the folks at Real News Network. And Chomsky did not “say so”. So Rovics, like a big part of the so-called “progressive” or “liberal” “Left” in the USA, did not know what to make of the conflict in the Ukraine. For the very same reason Shevchuk got stuck in this own logical fallacy: Putin.
American Liberals and Progressives are stuck because fundamentally they are still very much part of the system. Sure, they have disagreements with the Federal Government and with the mainstream politics, but when push comes to shove, they are stuck, unable to really cut their “mental umbilical cord” is you want. The best example of that mental paralysis of the US Liberals/Progressives is their blindness about 911: not only has the controlled demolition of WTC 1 2 and 7 been proven beyond reasonable doubt, but the Federal Government has basically admitted that 911 was an inside job (see sidebar).
[Sidebar: for those who have not read this here, I will repeat it: The US government has admitted , thought NIST, that WTC7 feel in free fall acceleration for 2.25 seconds. Why is that important? Simply because that means that a number of floors of WTC7 disappeared instantaneously and symmetrically from under the roof of WTC7 (free fall acceleration means no resistance besides air). There is only one possible way to remove a section of a building instantaneously: by explosive power. Yes, the admission by Uncle Sam that WTC7 feel for at least 2.25 seconds is an implicit admission that explosives were used. And since Uncle Sam has admitted that only explosives can explain what was observed on September 11th, Uncle Sam has therefore also admitted that this was a controlled demolition an ‘inside job as no outside actor, nevermind some semi-mythical ‘al-Qaeda’ could have had access to a super secret building like WTC7. Only Uncle Sam could have rigged that building to bring it down in a few seconds.]
The problem for the US Liberals/Progressives is that they have to reject this evidence because of its implications: that the US ‘deep state’ was willing and capable of murdering thousands of innocent US citizens to embark on a series of imperialist wars. That, to a typical US Liberal/Progressive is literally crimethink and, therefore, totally unacceptable. The more sophisticated members of the US Liberals/Progressives also realized that there was no way that the Administration of Dubya Bush could have had the time to rig the towers or, for that matter, to write up the huge Patriot Act. This had to be done long before Dubya got into the White House. So clearly some elements of the Democratic Party were “on it”. Rather than accept the evidence at hand, the Liberals/Progressives preferred to simply look away and pretend like this never happened.
Same thing with Putin: the entire US corporate media and all the talking heads have declared urbi at orbi that Putin is a dictator, a tyrant, a dangerous ex-KGB man with a maniacal drive for power. That he is allied to evil and ruthless Russian oligarchs and shadowy “secret service” types who, together, are concocting devious plans to restore the Evil Empire, occupy the Baltics, even possibly Poland, and to bring world civilization and progress to a bloody end. He wants to kill all homosexuals, he threatens to nuke the planet and he wants to be a Czar. He is both the “new Hilter” and the “new Stalin”. Having endorsed this load of crap, how could they possibly declare today that Putin is not the cause of the civil war in the Ukraine or that the AngloZionist Empire is supporting bona fide Nazis who use ballistic missiles, multiple rocket launchers and chemical weapons against their own population?
Again, the facts must be wrong therefore they must be rejected.
And so David Rovics, the “beautiful voice of the American Resistance” has literally nothing to say about this war. He is all over Palestine, Ferguson or even Walmart – but a real genocidal Nazi regime in Europe is, apparently, beyond his field of vision.
And, in conclusion, I address the “noble Europeans”!
The European society is as thoroughly purged from any real spirituality as it if filled with dogmas. I won’t list them all here – this rant is already too long – but I will only mention the main one: the “Dogma of Dogmas” in Europe is that Nazis are bad, bad, bad, bad!! Very bad. Like really so unspeakably bad, that they are way worse than all the others. The Nazis committed the Crime of Crimes and no civilized European would ever EVER want to have anything to do with those evil, evil, evil, evil Nazis!!
The civilized European is so outraged with the Nazis that he is willing to ban any type of putatively racist speech. He is willing to jail any historian who would dare to question the officially accepted narrative about the so-called “Holocaust” or the obligatory figure attached to it (the Holocaust is the only genocide which has an official figure – 6 million – attached to it under an unspoken but nonetheless mandatory dogma. Try suggesting, say, 5,5 million or, God forbid, even less and you will immediately be suspected of being a Nazi which, as I have mentioned, is bad, bad, bad, bad!!!). And while historians go to jail, the civilized Europeans are sending money and weapon to a REAL Nazi regime in Kiev. For the life of me I cannot imagine a worse hypocrisy. Apparently, Nazis are only Nazis when they go after Jews. When they go after Russians, they are not “real” Nazis. The anti-Jewish Nazis are bad, bad, bad, bad and bad, but the anti-Russian Nazis are, apparently, rather good, maybe even “good, good” (only 2x “good” as to not be as good as the anti-Jewish Nazis are bad).
So please allow me to be rude here and remind everybody that the majority of “civilized Europeans” did nothing or very little to oppose Herr Hitler and only minority truly did resist (the strongest resistance was in Serbia and Greece – two countries which nowadays the “rich” Europe is trying hard to destroy). That the majority of Europeans did nothing, or again, very little to stop the mass murder of Jews and that the Europeans did not liberate themselves from the Nazi yoke, but that they were liberated by “Communist Russian hordes” who account for 80% of all the destroyed Nazi military might (the remaining 20% were picked up by the Anglos, very late in the game). Off all people on the planet, the Europeans ought be the very last ones to ever show some sympathy for a Nazi regime, especially one focusing its genocidal hatred against the country which reduced the promised “1000 years Reich” to a mere 12 years. Forgive me, my dear Europeans, but if your “anti-Nazism” is reduced to jailing historians while fully siding with Nazi Banderists in Kiev – it is absolutely worthless!
The moral yardstick of the Ukrainian war
These examples all point to the same reality: the war in the Ukraine has turned into a moral yardstick separating those who “read the right books” and those who are “not a bystander” from those who are, forgive my language, simply full of shit (those offended by my choice of words can replace it with “scatophores” – sounds better, right?).
There are, I suppose, circumstances where one can respect his opponent. But there are also circumstances which make that quite impossible. The civil war in the Ukraine is, at least for me, such a situation. Backing the junta in Kiev – regardless under what pretext – is not only wrong, it is deeply dishonorable. In fact, it is despicable. I don’t give a damn of what people think about Putin or, for that matter, about Russia and the Russian people. I really don’t! And I can forgive those who were initially confused or ignorant. But too much time has passed, things have become so crystal clear that even the dumbest of ignoramuses has had the time, by now, to connect the dots. And I don’t care if you are Russian (like Shevchuk and BG), American or European. If you have anything but total disgust with the evil freak show in Kiev I have nothing but contempt for you.