Our amazing Friday sunset in Canberra.
Historical film Mr Jones – about a Welsh journalist who risked his life to tell the truth about Stalin’s 1930s genocide in Ukraine – is out this month, beginning with a premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.
Unlike the Holocaust, the Kremlin’s forced famine genocide – known as the Holodomor – escaped the world’s notice mostly because Western journalists, many of them advocates of communism, spent decades denying it.
Conservative estimates of the death toll put it on par with the Holocaust, while others place the numbers much higher; up to ten-million Ukrainians killed between 1932 and 1933. The numbers vary so much because, unlike the Germans who documented every aspect of the Holocaust, the Russian authorities have done everything in their power to hide their crimes.
(It should be noted that the Kremlin committed another genocide, in Kazakhstan, at the same time, killing 42% of their population.)
Gareth Jones, played in the movie by English actor James Norton, saw the Holodomor firsthand, and went against the lead of Stalin-friendly journalists like The New York Times’ Walter Duranty to try and get the truth out beyond the Iron Curtain.
Jones was only twenty-nine when he was murdered, one day shy of his thirtieth birthday.
This film seems incredibly important in this day and age, with people once again reacting to rising fascism by identifying as communists and sympathising with Russia. As this Variety article points out, we live in a similar age to the 1930s, with propaganda and “fake news” dominating much of the press, and most of the world turning a blind eye to atrocities being committed by the Kremlin, and by the regimes in countries like Syria.
(Post from Friday night):
I was going to start this post with some flippant comment, but instead, I left Canberra for Sydney this morning, only to discover that a massive bushfire is about to hit my part of town (much like in 2003), along with a severe heatwave and huge winds. After I arrived in Sydney I heard from my father that houses in my own suburb have had trees fall on and crush them. Other – massive – trees have fallen and blocked major roads. The fire is still out of control, and getting closer.
It’s raining in Sydney. I wish they’d send some of their rain to us.
I am flying to China in a few hours, so I guess I just hope for the best…
But – hey – climate change doesn’t exist, right?
Halloween indoors because it was too hot outside!
On Wednesday we booked tickets to travel to a few countries next year. I’m going back to Ukraine for several weeks, and then on to Romania (I’ve been to the border on the Ukrainian side before, but never actually to Romania!), and to Georgia. So: to two of the countries currently being invaded by Russia, and one neighbour!
At least 30 000 people were killed in Kurapaty between 1937 and 1941, but some estimates put the number as high as 250 000.
People who attended the first commemoration – in 1988 – were attacked by the police, and to this day Kurapaty is not publicly mentioned by the pro-Russian government (run since the 1990s by dictator Alexander Lukashenko).
Pazniak fled the country in 1996 and was granted political asylum in the United States.
This week, there’s a suggestion someone finally might act on the disgusting ad for My Kitchen Rules that has been running on Australian television. Anyone who is okay with this hammer and sickle symbol but is horrified by a swastika needs to learn their history. Millions more people died just in Ukraine under that symbol of the Soviet Union than people did through the whole of Europe in the Holocaust – just let that sink in.
Both are evil. Both the Soviet and Nazi symbols are banned in some countries, but both should be banned everywhere.
That Westerners are fine with the hammer and sickle is utterly horrifying. That the world seems to think the symbol of Stalin’s genocidal acts is retro and cute is shocking. The deficiencies in people’s knowledge of history need to be fixed.
We are in a place in the world at the moment where we’re fighting a resurgence of Nazism. However, the very same people who are fighting neo-Nazis seem to be okay with ^^that^^. Being anti-Nazi doesn’t make Stalinism or Communism fine.