On the 12th of March, the Utica College graciously hosted a forum on Ukraine called Nazism and Fascism in Ukraine, and that title was a change from the original billing which was Double Standards in U.S. Foreign Policy: Ukraine, a case study.
Political Science Honor Society Pi Sigma Alpha was gracious in accepting the proposal to host the event at Utica College’s Willard Conference Room, DePerno Hall. It began at 7pm.
One thing you learn about organizing any endeavour whether it be political or theatrical, is that there is always some amount of drama. And it is not surprising since as human beings we are all marked with the symptoms of the Fall, that of fear and trembling upon the face of the earth. We are agitated by questions such as: Is it going to work out;…what actually will be said:…do you want dinner before or after the event?. These and other concerns like random atoms crash through the sphere of our minds and hearts, and furrows through the waves and troughs of despondency and anxiety: in other words the mark of Cain is the devil in the details.
So yes, being that we are human beings, there was some drama leading up to the event but by the grace of God, it was all smoothed over by the desire of the organizers, the Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society, and the Faculty of Utica College, and some community members to create an opportunity for freedom of speech to be actually practiced in a way perhaps the Founders of the United States, had actually imagined it
The event itself was a success, we had quite a few people show up….a count of about 45 people, (for topics of this type this is huge) some Orthodox peoples, clergy and laymen showed up, and also of course, students.
The students and community members asked very good questions afterward, and of course you had someone with the mainstream version of the events pipe up, and he was politely apprised of the little known truths of the matter. It was for the most part a very good civil discussion wherein some information was shared, and then discussed, and people went away with their minds cogitating on perspectives they probably would not have gotten elsewhere.
It was what happened afterward that was deeply disturbing, and it shattered any goodwill that was forged during the lead up to the event, during the drama and reconciliation, and during the event itself and, immediately afterward.
A press release was hastily written up about the forum that misrepresented events that led up to it, and this was dispersed through various media, internationally and in the United States. When there was an attempt to facilitate a correction, the organizers were summarily dismissed, and their concerns were ignored..in fact .one of the organizers received an email that was very belittling. I write this because I want it on record that the College was very welcoming , contrary to what was said in the press release.
The hard lesson learned was that whenever you have a speaker come to any event you are hosting, or organizing, individually or collectively; get it in writing how the media relations aspect of it will be handled. If you are a nascent activist such as I am…please I cannot tell you more emphatically how important this aspect of organizing is. Goodwill can be destroyed, and peoples’s livelihood can be threatened, and if you are collaborating with someone who turns out to be somewhat deaf and blind to these concerns, you’d rather deal with it in the contractual stage rather than the aftermath, when you’ve realised you have been manipulated and used to further the agenda of some other organization that has not the best interest of your community and your own organizing efforts in mind.
Actions speak louder than words. Harmful actions without any remorse are fatal to good advocacy and forming coalitions to fight injustice. Sometimes we don’t need outsiders to divide and conquer us…we do it to ourselves.
Thus, contracts are ways to build good fences, so that in the name of that niggling demon of self-interest we don’t abuse people of good faith and good intentions. In the fight for justice, whether in a small town, or in a big city or internationally, there are all types of people participating, and many with different motives at odds with one another. The contractual agreement is a good way to deal with the potentialities these different motives may generate, and to mitigate the worse of them. As i said earlier , the event itself was very good, and there was a blessed feeling of goodwill, even though there were disagreements. It was to my mind a very civil affair…and if the students didn’t have to study,or community members didn’t have long drives to embark on, perhaps everyone would have wanted to go out for a beer afterward…that was my take on things.
But what was said during the event was important, important enough that following is a post of the good parts of that press release. Please read it, and cogitate on it.
On the evening of March 12, 2015, the Political Science Honors Society of Utica College in Utica, NY sponsored a political forum on the crisis in the Ukraine entitled Fascism and Nazism in Ukraine. The forum was part of a continuing conversation series of public political events organized by the Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society.
Professor Lituchy began with a synopsis of his
presentation: the facts surrounding the US backing
of the coup against the democratically elected
government in Kiev; a review of the 2500 year
history of the Russian and Ukrainian peoples, who
for most of that time lived as one people with one
language, one religion, one state, one culture and
history until quite recently; and the historical events
that led to the splitting off of Galicia, Volynia and
Bukovina from the rest of Russia and ultimately
the sponsoring in Galicia of a Uniate church that
served as a platform for dividing and conquering the
Russian and Ukrainian peoples and then using it
to subvert the Orthodox church and ultimately
using it as a springboard for projecting German
imperialist interests in Ukraine and Russia –
such as territorial expansion – beginning with the
third annexation of Poland in 1792 and
continuing into the twentieth century with
World Wars one and two.
This, Professor Lituchy explained, was the blueprint
for the later policy of US imperialist policies against
Russia and Ukraine by which western ukrainian
nationalists would be used to take over the Ukraine
and then to establish a military threat against Russia.
Lituchy also gave a detailed account of the origins and
history of the Ukrainian fascist movement beginning with
Semyon Petliura and continuing with Bandera and the OUN
and the forces used by the Nazis in the Holocaust including the SS Division Galizia blessed by the Uniate
Bishop and Pope Pius XII, and then up to today,
with special reference to Right Sektor, Svoboda,
and the Azov Battalion and other paramilitary units
committing atrocities against people in the Ukraine.
Today’s atrocities are replication of the atrocities of
During this historical review Lituchy pointed out
that in 1919 Petliura’s forces captured the city
of Zhashkovo in the Ukraine and carried out
one of the worst pogroms in all of Jewish history.
Lituchy’s great-grandfather and family (except
for 2 members who were shot) survived the
pogrom in Zhashkovo, but most of the city’s
Jews were burned alive in the synagogue by Petluira.
Altogether Petluira’s forces carried out 1200 pogroms between 1917 and 1921 and killed 200,000 Jews.
Lituchy then spoke about how the Ukrainian fascists
were never punished but in fact were saved by British
and US intelligence to serve in the Cold War as agents
against the USSR and other Communist countries. Their escape through the Vatican ratlines was facilitated
by the Ustashe priest Kruneslav Dragonovic, but was
overseen by British and US intelligence agencies.
A number of Ukrainian Nazis later held highly
influential positions in the US and were even advisors to
Presidents Reagan and Bush (the elder). At least 12,000
Ukrainian Nazis fled to North America and got to live out
their “American dream” after butchering millions of
Jews and Russians including children.
In his conclusion, Lituchy called on his fellow Americans
to condemn US intervention in the Ukrainian crisis,
oppose all further military aid to Kiev, and, above all, to
support the partition of the Ukraine through a peaceful
divorce so that the Western Ukrainians can pursue their
national aspirations and the eastern Ukrainians can pursue their national aspirations which would inevitably involve
rejoining Russia. Lituchy emphasized that the US position on
borders is not only a case of double standards but also preposterous. Ukraine’s borders are artificial and were created during Soviet times, and artificial borders have
throughout history led to wars and violent conflicts
between peoples. But worst still, President Obama and
the US media have falsely claimed that the main reason
to sanction Russia is because we do not permit the violent change of borders. Obviously the destruction of Yugoslavia
and the violent bombing that led to Kosovo’s separation from Serbia in 1999 proves the perfidious nature and lies behind US and EU policy toward the Ukraine and Russia.*****
*****Now I must add, that Orthodox Christian suffering was minimized in this piece, although it was adequately covered during the lecture series, as the Orthodox suffered greatly in these and other pogroms. And we will be sharing that history, directly.