VICTORY AGAINST NAZISM Dr. M. Manzoor Alam (May 18, 2005)

V-Day Hype and the Masked Truth

Dr. MoHAMMAD Manzoor Alam

The world is still reverberating with the grand words spoken at last week’s Moscow celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Allied victory against Nazism. Like always it was portrayed as the victory of “freedom and democracy” over an autocratic, racial supremacist, dangerous doctrine.

By now this has become the official wisdom worldwide. The problem with this totalising, universalist doctrine (that the victory of the Allied forces was the triumph of good over evil, of entire humanity against a brutal foe) is the same as with Fascism, Nazism and Marxism, the doctrines “freedom and democracy” line seeks to replace. In short, it is only partly true. May 9 does not bring great joy to the entire humanity as we are forced to believe.

Let us examine some of its premises. It says the World War II was a straight fight between the noble cause of freedom and democracy on one side and the ignoble forces led by Germany, Japan and Italy, according to this version, were crushed by the Allies, who stood for everything noble.

The point here is , whose freedom were they defending? of course, Britain and France were the worst violators of freedom and democracy. The entire Muslim world (besides the rest of Asia and Africa) was in chains, being trampled relentlessly under British and French military boots. The colonialists were not in a mood to let go of an inch of the territory they had usurped overseas, nor were they ready to allow any race, nation or society under their dominance to taste freedom and democracy. Most countries started winning their freedom following the war, after a great struggle and sacrifice of human lives. They became free just because these colonial powers were no longer able to hold on to them.

The war had bled white the colonial powers like Britain and France and they conceded freedom to the Afro-Asian nations not because they loved freedom and democracy as they claim, but because they could not carry on with their old ways in the new situation. Hence, the incessant harangue about freedom and democracy does not convince anyone, even though it is the official mantra of the victor, the vanquished and the formerly colonised people of the world. This only shows that the world is still under the dominance of the Western allies.

Russia’s case is most interesting and intriguing. Before the war it had been hobnobbing with Nazi Germany. It, in fact, cynically ganged up with Germany to carve up Poland, Central Europe and Baltic states between them. In 1939, the two countries signed the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact under which these territories were gobbled up and their people enslaved. Soon the German attack on Russia came and Stalin had to ally with the “forces of freedom and democracy”.

Even before the war was over Russia began to drift away from its allies, to emerge as the Enemy Number One of its former allies by the time the war ended. Almost simultaneously, the cold war between the NATO and Russia-led communist bloc began. Now the new struggle had to be couched in a new language.

The “freedom and democracy” bubble burst even before last week’s celebrations began in Moscow where the heads of 50 countries’ governments were present. In the hours preceding the celebrations President George W. Bush had found fault with Russian democracy. President Vladmir Putin retorted that the American democracy was even more flawed. The celebrations were held under such tight security that downtown Moscow residents were ordered to leave the city and go away to their countryside farms in the interest of their own security. Most people complied with the orders as others stayed back in their homes with doors and windows shut from inside.

The people around Red Square (the area where the celebrations are traditionally held) were asked to remain indoors and not to open their windows or come out on their balconies. Why were the Russians afraid? Because of the Chechens, whom they have enslaved for nearly 250 years. All these years the Chechens have been struggling, making great sacrifices to get their freedom, without success. Desperate to win their God-given freedom, they have resorted to violence (Russians have been even more violent), but that too has failed so far. So, whose freedom the leaders were talking about at the Red Square?

That this endless rant about freedom and democracy meant nothing for most of the world was quite obvious when leaders of the Baltic states, which had been part of the former Soviet Union (usurped through the pact between Stalin and Hitler), demanded that Putin apologise for Russians enslaving them for nearly six decades. Of course, Putin did not oblige.

For France, Russia, Britain, America and Israel, World War II was a struggle between forces of freedom and democracy on one side and dictatorship and racism on the other. For the rest of the world it was merely a struggle for colonial dominance between two sets of powerful countries and there was nothing noble about it.

For the Afro-Asian peoples nothing has changed much. The same lust for dominance and usurping others’ lands and resources continues even today under the same label of freedom and democracy. Only the power equation between the dominant countries has changed. This is not the ideal world we envisage. As the colonial greed of Western nations caused the World War I, which in turn produced the World War II, the present course of unilateralism and unmitigated greed for others’ lands and resources might start (to some they have already started) a new chain of neo-colonial violence as evidenced in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some have called it the “Third World War” to be spread over a decade, involving the destruction of scores of countries, beginning with Afghanistan and Iraq. For the formerly colonised people it is not a moment of celebration, nor is it for the presently colonised like the Chechens, Palestinians, Afghans and Iraqis.g

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