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June 15, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8797

Russian Daily 'Kommersant' Featured Columnist Maxim Yusin: Africans Understand Something That Their Self-Appointed Western Defenders Fail To Understand

June 15, 2020
Russia, Africa | Special Dispatch No. 8797

One Russian reaction to the disturbances triggered by the killing of George Floyd, a black man, while in police custody in the U.S. has been gloating and self-satisfaction on the official level. Now, the presumptuous Americans will presumably be in no position to lecture us on democracy and human rights.[1] Another reaction is bewilderment that America and the West have taken leave of their senses. An article by Maxim Yusin, a featured columnist for Kommersant, belongs in this category. Yusin believes that history should be left alone because by following the logic of the protesters, all historical figures (in Russia as well) are vulnerable and the Americans will have to rename Washington D.C. and Washington state, and remove their first president from the American dollar, because he owned slaves.

Yusin's article follows below:[2]


Maxim Yusin (Source: Ukraina.ru)

"In the United States and many Europe highlighted a new trend. Demonstrators fighting for the rights of the oppressed blacks are increasingly turning their attention and anger to the monuments. The monuments undergo a harsh 'ideological audition', and if they cannot pass it, the protesters’ entire anger is unleashed on them.

"The USA follows a well-trodden path: in response to the demands of Afro-Americans and left-wing activists, the authorities dismantle monuments to the generals who fought in the forces of the Confederacy for the Southern states during the 19th century Civil War.

"History is retroactively rewritten according to primitive, black and white patterns, where no nuances are considered, and a simple, template approach is propagated. Friend or Foe, good or bad, a freedom fighter for African Americans or a slave owner. The fact that entire regiments in Confederate forces were comprised of blacks is not considered. They are set aside as failing to conform to the sole true, progressive concept. And now, Robert Lee, a descendant of General Lee, who commanded the South's army, supports the demand to take down the monument to his ancestor in Virginia.

"If in America the 'war' with monuments has been going on for a long time, then for Europe this is a relatively new phenomenon.

"In Bristol a monument to local politician and philanthropist Edward Colston (who was also a slave trader) was thrown down from its pedestal and thrown in the river. And the monument to Winston Churchill in London was 'decorated' with the inscription 'racist', by the way it was done exactly on the anniversary of the Allies landing in Normandy in 1944.

"In Belgium, crowds of protesters vented their anger to the statues of King Leopold II, during whose reign the Belgian colonialists were distinguished by their cruelty in Congo (the territory was also considered to be the personal property of His Majesty). [Protesters] demand that the monuments to the monarch will be taken down from the pedestal. Thus, a new trend is emerging in Europe, when a progressive public will decide which historical figure is worthy of a monument and which is not.

"By following this logic, one can reach absurd conclusions. For example, in France, many famous generals and marshals, after whom the Paris avenues are named, made a career during the colonial wars in Africa. The same can be said for General Joffre, hero of World War I, the victor of the Battle of Marne, whose monument still stands on the Champ de Mars in Paris. But vigilant activists will, apparently, deal with him. They will also deal with Admiral Nelson, and with the famous London column, named in his honor. Nelson did not oppress the Africans, but he executed the Italian Republicans in Naples mercilessly, without trial or investigation, he hung them by their necks on his ships. What a 'war criminal' he was! It’s scary to think what claims can be presented against the first US presidents, who all owned black slaves. In this regard, it would be fair to both rename Washington (both the city and the state), and simultaneously remove the oppressors' portraits from dollar bills.

"The history of Russia is not so smooth also. Almost all the great poets and writers were slave owners. Alexander Suvorov suppressed Pugachev’s [peasant] Rebellion and Peter I was a bloody tyrant by today's standards.

"By using these yardsticks to approach historical events and personages one can descend deep into craziness. So deep that it will be impossible to get back to the surface. So how do we avoid this descent? - Well, it is quite simple – let's take an example from the very same Africans, in whose defense allegedly the activists demand to remove the monuments to the oppressors and colonialists. Recently I was in Kinshasa, the capital of aforementioned Congo, where they savaged the subjects of Leopold II. What did I see there? The equestrian statue of this king stands in the historical open-air museum, in the very center of the city. And the pedestal is not scrawled with any insults - everything is clean, nice and civilized.

"Maybe Africans understand something what their self-appointed defenders who go to rallies in Western cities do not want to understand? One shouldn’t interfere in history, because one cannot change it. It is not worth fighting with the monuments, splitting the society and adding unnecessary irritants to our life today, which is quite complicated and jumpy as it is."

 

[2] Kommersant.ru, June 9, 2020.

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