VILNIUS—Yet again, a conference here in the Lithuanian capital dedicated to combating fascism and antisemitism is announced, without there having been a public call for papers, without a single speaker from among those who actually combat fascism and antisemitism in the country, with nobody from the democratically elected Vilnius Jewish community (not even the long-time editor of Jerusalem of Lithuania who has exposed and combated antisemitism for decades). No Holocaust survivors. None of the nationally relevant questions of the day can be found on the conference program. As ever, outstanding academic personalities from abroad are recruited to lend the gravitas and provide serious papers on an array of topics (which they admirably do), as long as these have little directly to do with the actual contemporary issues here in Lithuania (but the conference introduction by Prof. Dovilė Budrytė does indeed touch on some of the issues, which seem, however, to be largely absent from the actual conference program). The last such event, in 2015, resulted in the Norwegian Embassy withdrawing support and launching an inquiry on behalf of the EEA (European Economic Area) funders of that event.
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Events, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016)
Tagged antisemitism conference, Antisemitism in Lithuania, Chaim Bargman, Dovilė Budrytė, EEA, Evaldas Balciunas, fascism in Lithuania, Israeli Embassy in Vilnius, Leonas Kaplanas, Milan Chersonski, Racism in Lithuania, Ruta Vanagaite, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevicius), Zeppelinus
Vilma Fiokla Kiurė
A Nigerian citizen was attacked with a knife and injured in Kaunas, Lithuania, earlier this month. Trying hard to avoid describing the assault as a racially motivated hate crime, law enforcement officials and the mainstream media alike explained that the incident was purely part of a private dispute. Strange to tell, reading through official statistics you would rapidly come to the conclusion that racist and xenopohobic crimes in Lithuania stand at about zero. And, that neo-Nazi minded youth are “just patriotic.”
It is no great secret in this part of the world that law enforcement officials and some politicians like to beautify the statistics, or to terminate or redefine proceedings brought in respect of racial or xenophobic hatred. One example comes to mind from 2011, when MPs J. Narkevičius and E. Zingeris appealed to the General Prosecutor’s Office to do something about the neo-Nazi ideology espoused in the song “Diktatūra” by the group “Šalčininkų rajonas” (Šalčininkai District).
Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Human Rights, Lithuania, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Racism, Roma, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė
Tagged Diktatūra, Human rights in Lihtuania, neo-Nazis in Lithuania, Racism in Lithuania, Roma in Lithuania, Šalčininkų rajonas, Vilma Fiokla Kiure
Christine Beresniova, a doctoral scholar at Indiana University (Bloomington) has exposed the disturbingly racist images in a popular Lithuanian language manual that have disturbed foreign Lithuanian language students for many years. The public disclosure is reported today in an article in the main daily newspaper in Vilnius, Lietuvos rytas.
The most infamous image features two pairs of stereotypes. There is the Lithuanian woman in national folk costume and a crown on her head, and as foreign counterpart, a bare-breasted black woman in Africa with weird headgear. The caption to the illustration translates ‘This woman is a Lithuanian, and that one is an African’, as if Africa is a country, one-to-one comparable to ‘Lithuania’.