I may be mistaken, but I have noticed that in Europe the 8th (9th) of May is not celebrated as much as it is in Russia. And I think it is a shame.
It is a shame that the recent years have seen the escalation of political conflict between Russia and the West, with the East European countries caught in between, but this post is not about that. I just want to state my opinion, namely that it is extremely important that the Victory Day is celebrated widely everywhere in Europe – and in the whole world.
The reason is that the Victory Day is not a bone of contention for politicians to snap at. It is an event that belongs to humanity. It commemorates a great victory – the victory, at one point in time, of humanity over fascism.
It is not about certain countries and historical personalities. It is not about borders and divisions, pacts, alliances and betrayals. It is not about generals and their armies. It is about the fact that, in spite of our imperfections and weaknesses, we won. Humanity won a terrible war. People won it, and the victory belongs to the people. Not to politicians, not to generals, not to regimes, not to treaties and discourses. It belongs to us, the descendants of those who fought for it. Soldiers and civilians who sacrificed everything they had. Millions who gave their lives, and millions more who lost their loved ones and their homes. Those sacrifices were not in vain: the inhuman regime was overcome, and the humanity prevailed.
Why is it so important?
I think that both Russia and the West are suffering from a whole set of diseases. Consumerism, individualism, apathy – but worst of all, memory loss.
If not for this memory loss,it would probably not be possible for a whole nation to vote out of EU, or for another to come close to electing president a person who suggests to close national borders and reintroduce the national currency, or for yet another to keep refugees imprisoned in razor fences.
Could Britain, whose cities were bombed and whose children were sent away, have stood alone against fascism? Could France, whose citizens were sent to labour camps and executed in basements during the occupation? And what does Hungary have to say about trade-offs it had to make during the war?
What makes it possible today for Europeans to say: we have no need of each other? Is it because we do not remember the horrors of the war? Or is it because in our blindness we have somehow come to believe that a war like that cannot happen again? In fact, the unions we are rejecting now were created precisely to prevent it from happening.
The world is our backyard. Are the wars waged in the Middle East and Africa not a result of Western political and economic games? When it comes to grief, destitution, loss of dignity – there are no borders. When it comes to great victories of humanity, there are no borders. Then why are we waging wars against each other every day, at every step, in every headline, on every corner?
The victory belongs to us, the descendants of those who fought for it. But are we worthy of it?
I believe we are, as long as we dare to remember, to mourn, and to celebrate. Without discourses, without borders. As a common human nation, as humanity.
Perhaps I am naive, or do not understand the situation correctly. What do you think?