O P I N I O N
Original 2 May 2013 report; Person identified by the media submits 13 May 2013 complaint to the Press Commission [draft English translation], citing Anarchija.lt, Balsas.lt, KaunoŽinios.lt, Lrytas.lt as well as DefendingHistory.com. He does not deny the identification but disputes the characterization of his work as in harmony with neo-Nazism.
23 July update: Zeppelinus greets Baltic Pride with a new hate image.
Dear Mr. Gustas,
Congratulations on your recent appointment as Economy Minister. May your tenure be blessed with success, wisdom and good fortune for all of Lithuania’s citizens.
We address you on the advent of your tenure on a human rights matter rather than an economic question. We feel certain you would agree that there is a demonstrable correlation between the long-term successful economies of the world and free and open democratic societies that reject all forms of state-supported fascism, racism, antisemitism, homophobia and other forms of hate and exclusionism directed at segments of the population.
Back in May of this year, various news portals in Lithuania, including Antifa.lt, Balsas.lt, Lrytas.lt, KaunoŽinios.lt and reported that the notorious internet racist, antisemite and antigay hatemonger known as “Zeppelinus” is actually Director of the Human Resources [!] Department at the Economy Ministry which you have now taken over. It was moreover reported that he serves as representative of the government of Lithuania on the Tripartite Council that also includes representatives of the business and labor communities.
In normal circumstances, it might not be the minister’s concern that a principal employee or senior civil servant has somewhat strange off-duty “hobbies.” But in this case, if the identification by the portals is accurate, it would mean in fact that your employee is engaged in egregious unethical, immoral and (in the European Union) illegal activities inciting mass hatred, human degradation and potential incitement to violence, on the basis of ethnicity, religion, race and sexual orientation, in other words — against virtually all the minorities of Lithuania (in a notorious instance extending to Black people, who do not constitute an ethnic minority in the country). The continued employment by the ministry of such an individual would constitute a moral mis-statement that continues to cause completely unnecessary harm to the Ministry’s image.
At the present point in time, in the days of the rotating presidency of the European Union and appointment to the UN’s Security Council, both happy and inspiring opportunities, it is an international embarrassment of high order that can so easily be avoided by the new Minister for the Economy taking rapid, decisive and morally unambiguous action.
If on the other hand the news portals have misidentified Zeppelinus, all that is needed is your public statement confirming that the author of the Zeppelinus hate materials is not employed by your Ministry. We are prepared to take your word for it!
There follow, for rapid reference, some examples of “these materials” . . . [Full disclosure: the editor of Defending History, who is writing this open letter, has himself had the distinction of being portrayed by Zeppelinus on numerous occasions principally in connection with our opposition to state-sanctioned neo-Nazi marches in major city centers on public holidays.]
With many thanks for your kind attention, and all good wishes,
- Translation of the five speech bubbles:
- “Let’s nail him to the cross for saying that”
- “The minister will kiss the shoes of the ambassadors and of [Efraim] Zuroff”
- “He does not believe! He is asking questions! That’s heresy”
- “Freedom of speech is just for us, not you”
- “The Soviets committed genocide? That’s slander”
- Translation of text at bottom:
- Where has the spirit of the Lithuanian constitution hidden itself?
- Come and defend our freedom!
- The individual has the right to hold his own views and to express them openly –article 25 of the constitution
- The individual is considered innocent for so long as his guilt has not been proven in the manner prescribed by law –article 31 of the constitution
- In the Republic of Lithuania only the courts dispense justice — article 109 of the constitution
- “ …The suggestion is to grant Lithuanian citizenship under special circumstances…”
- “Please [go ahead and] deny [what I said]”
- Translation of text at bottom:
- Kaunas, February 16, 2013 [day of neo-Nazi march in Kaunas on the national holiday celebrating the independence of 1918]
- If to believe the tales of the antifascists and Jewish activists
- “Thank you for our victory”
- On March 11, we,
- antifascists, feminists, NK95 members and pedosceptics,
- human rights observers,
- expansion of homosexuality
- activists and members of other tolerant orientations,
- are holding a parade,
- which we are ringingly calling
- the march of freedom.
- Would you like to