Saturday, February 19, 2005

Ken Livingstone the hypocrite

Ken Livingstone, London's Mayor, still refuses to apologise for his offensive comments to a Jewish reporter, Oliver Finegold. More details of the incident can be found here. The reason he gives is that he was attacking the reporters employers, the Daily Mail (the Evening Standard's sister paper) which was a supporter of Fascism in the 1930s. If Ken Livinstone has an axe to grind with fascism, it hasn't stopped him from supporting Sinn Fein / IRA, who not only collaborated with the Nazis in World War Two, but still commemorate it! Every year, Sinn Fein hold a ceremony to honour the statue of Sean Russell, a Nazi collaborator who died on a German U-Boat in 1940.

Sean Russell's statue, erected in Dublin 1951, was recently decapitated by anti-fascists. The war years are a shameful period in Irish history, when the Government preferred neutrality to fighting along the British, and when it's Head of State, Eamonn De Valera paid a condolence visit to the German Embassy following Hitler's death. It's a period many in Ireland would rather forget, never mind celebrate.

Such was their hatred of the British (and the Irish Free State), the IRA were prepared to enlist the help of the Nazis to overthrow their own Government, undermine the British and reunite their Island. By this time, Hitler's intentions were well known. Had the Nazis occupied Ireland, the Jewish community would have been wiped out and the Nazis would have had a valuable base from which to attack Britain.

With this in mind, would Ken Livingstone rather attack a paper that once supported fascism but clearly no longer does, or does he prefer to support a political movement that was not only allied with fascism, but continues to commemorate it?

Monday, February 14, 2005

Commemorating Dresden

Last Sunday's commemoration of the bombing of Dresden is a stark reminder that 60 years on, historical revisionism is as much a threat as holocaust revisionism.

Western liberals bend over backwards to commemorate the holocaust but are less willing to commemorate the fighting to free Europe of tyranny. Increasingly, the allied bombing campaign is likened to the carpet bombing of the Luftwaffe, and with each anniversary, the tendency is to commemorate all the war dead rather than the allied victims. To do so is to forget the purpose of the war. After five years of fighting, the allies were brutalised by Nazi terror, and had suffered tremendous loss of life. Their objective was to to end the war by all means necessary, and in such circumstances, they can be forgiven for their mistakes.

Preventing genocide isn't just about remembering the Holocaust, it also means having the moral courage to go to war and risk the civilian loss of life this entails. It's a risk Americans are still willing to take. Europeans continue to put their faith in the UN, who stood by whilst 7000 died at Srebrenica, who allowed 800,000 Tutsis to be murdered in Rwanda, and who can't decide whether Darfur constitutes genocide.

In 60 years, it seems little has changed...