Algirdas Paleckis Speaks Out at a Vilnius Conference that Obfuscates Antisemitism and Racism




O P I N I O N

by Algirdas Paleckis

 

Note: Translation of Algirdas Paleckis’s comments from the floor at the conference “Tolerance and Totalitarianism: Challenges to Freedom” held on 16 November 2011 in Vilnius. The comments were contributed following the session on “Antisemitism, xenophobia, racism, discrimination. Totalitarian temptations  and new trials of tolerance.”
The videotape from which this translation was made is available at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Odd44ZP-hk0
See also coverage of the conference by Geoff Vasil and Dovid Katz, and the editor’s comment on prosecutors’ campaign against Mr. Paleckis.

 

“Thank you very much. I should probably introduce myself. I’m Algirdas Paleckis, a  member of the newly-formed Lithuania Without Nazism and  chairman of the Socialist People’s Front.  It’s really encouraging that this conference is taking place, but  Lithuania Without Nazism as an association was founded because  of concerns about double standards.

“The fact is, the Lithuanian courts, the one in Klaipeda, recognized the  swastika as a symbol is a sort of pagan symbol, which can be displayed in public. We do not have a suitably clear reaction to this from our government.

“Likewise — this time by a court in Vilnius — it was decided, after  March 11th, that the slogan ‘Lithuania for Lithuanians’ is also an  acceptable slogan. I would like to point out that the reaction should be much more serious.

“The March 11th marches, which the honorable Mr. Emanuelis [Zingeris] mentioned, received sanction from the [Vilnius] municipality. One  would think that that should not occur. Further, [touching] individually upon Emanuelis Zingeris and his  fellow party member the defense minister Rasa Juknevičienė, I  would understand it if she, the next morning [after March 11th], duly expelled [from the military] the fifteen Nazis who were part of the  March 11 events. I think we can all ask for this at least, really, if  these Nazis are in the military.

“Oh, yes. Here is the book book which names 25,000 civilians murdered over a decade [following World War II]; they were  murdered by what are now called partisans, or forest brothers, many of whom were [former] Nazi collaborators.

“I strongly ask you to pay attention to these double standards and to  differentiate between those who fought for ideals, and those who even murdered children. About a thousand children were murdered.

“In conclusion I’d like to say that [the state-financed]  commemoration of the Uprising of June 23ed, 1941, requires much greater scrutiny, and if you read the documents by their organizers, the LAF [Lithuanian Activist Front], these documents are saturated  with antisemitism [and hatred for] people of a different kind, and  immediately after this ‘uprising’ and actually during it, masses of  Jews were murdered [i.e., the mass murder of Jews began]. And now, annually in Lithuania, commemorations take place as an important event, and medals are passed out.

“These are double standards. And, well, that’s all. Thank you.”

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