All the Nazi stuff coming out of Ukraine recently moved something in my head. Not sure why but I can suddenly write about it again.
Yasha, I continue to admire your extraordinary distaste for reductive judgement. May I suggest that flag-semantic vagaries, "the prime myths .....the language, the culture, the heroes, the symbols..." and the ongoing sausage factory not only rewriting, but enforcing the suppression and erasure of, history, all remain prime movers of the American brand of nationalism as well. The long history of institutional and political sheltering, and Faustian bargains made, as you've noted here and elsewhere, by the US imperium with these very fascists and other authoritarian malefactors merely underscores the observation.
This stuff just makes my head want to explode, its the Stockholm Syndrome gone nuclear.
"And look, it’s true that symbols change meaning. They get edited along the way to fit changing cultural and political conditions. People pull what’s useful from a myth or from a text and discard the rest. Meanings get inverted. That’s not surprising or even that interesting."
What's interesting and meaningful to me is the question of who did it? Who permitted (or didn't permit certain kinds of) editing, pulling, and discarding? Why did these people have the ability to give permission for this to happen?
"That’s how a surviving member of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS could be rebranded"
No, too much non-agency in your analysis. While it's entirely possible natural ignorance, haste, and/or laziness can explain part of this, somebody had consciously to come up with this scum's name and hand it to somebody else for approval.
(BTW, mainstream ie Zionist Jewish groups in Canada were up-in-arms about this [unlike their southern versions, whom, I suspect, have been told to shut up by various official and unofficial gate-keepers]. Mind, this could easily be because, like many on Canada's Right, they hate Trudeau and want to pile onto him anything, even the nonsensical, in the hopes it will get him out and the Cons in.)
"This isn’t Bandera’s Ukraine."
Sure, but what do you want to bet it can become it again during the next Big Crisis? Not to mention that, while there are Jews who seem copacetic with this, will any news focus on the LGTBQ folks or Roma who get beaten and burned to death?
Pro-Banderite Jews might want to look at these people:
"I don’t think this makes Ukraine into some kind of freak or aberration."
True, but it's a much speeded-up version of what's been happening for the past thirty-some-odd years world wide, kind of like William Gibson's description of future shock: "a deranged experiment in social Darwinism, designed by a bored researcher who kept one thumb permanently on the fast-forward button." Ukraine's had to be caught up.
"It all seems rather natural, doesn’t it?"
Yup, it's _supposed to seem natural_ because it isn't.
Thanks Yasha, great article. Out of interest, Canada had the largest community of Ukrainian descent outside of Ukraine and Russia. Many are descendants of immigrants from late 19th and early 20th centuries who settled on the rich farmlands of central Canada. However, many are descendants of collaborators who fled after the end of WW2 and settled here. For instance a senior member of the current Government - Chrystia Freeland - who has a grandfather who collaborated with the nazis and published an anti-Semitic newspaper. Not her fault who she is descended from, but she has never denounced or expressed regret about the actions of her grandfather. Unfortunately the extreme nationalists who are the ideological descendants of Bandera have control over the main Ukrainian/Canadian organizations and lobby groups. Alas this all seems a repeat of what happened with the Croatian community here during the 1990s with breakup of Yugoslavia and the revival of the reputations of such obnoxious and murderous Ustase leaders as Ante Pavelic. Also it’s maddening when some nationalists and sympathetic journalists try to excuse the actions of leaders like Bandera as a reaction to the brutalities of the Stalinist state. What’s missing is the story of how despite Stalin, millions of brave Ukrainians fought in the Red Army and partisan groups to help defeat the scourge of nazism.
I mean one thing that annoys me with the focus on the Banderites is that early in the war there was also a group in Russia that collaborated with the Nazis and committed widespread atrocities. You don’t hear much about them from the people who talk about the OUN-B, but you might have heard of them nonetheless: the group was called the РККА/RККА, or the Krasnaya Armiya, for short.
(Obviously I’m being facetious, but the contortions people go into to defend the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact are just ridiculous.)
Lots of comments in the local on-line paper (a right-of-center rag but still better than the even more right-wing one), and, sure as shit stinks, the Usual Suspects either screaming for Trudeau's head or blaming those evil Rooskies.
May also be of interest https://foreignpolicy.com/2016/05/02/the-historian-whitewashing-ukraines-past-volodymyr-viatrovych/?fbclid=IwAR24n9xLgjuXKl6Ooq-5J-0dfniQfyoSMJqoYjndxcTXgTwL-zz8MmpCYwM
The long to belong runs deep within the human spirit. The "longbonging" if you will.
May be of interest https://covertactionmagazine.com/2023/02/03/how-a-network-of-nazi-propagandists-helped-lay-the-groundwork-for-the-war-in-ukraine/