Image from the front page of Respublika, depicting the Jew and the Gay holding up the globe, under the headline ‘Kas valdo pasauli?’ (‘Who controls the world?’), followed on p. 3 by a racist, antisemitic and homophobic article by the editor. The cartoon first appeared on page 1 of the paper in 2004.
LGBTQ Equal Rights
Human Rights Advocate Andrius Navickas is ‘put inside the Jew and the Gay’ on Page 1 of Vakaro Zinios (Evening News)
After human rights advocate and journalist Andrius Navickas lodged a protest against the publication of the antisemitic and homophobic cartoon, a caricature of his face and body was inserted into the ‘Jews and Gays control the world’ cartoon and published on the front page of Vakaro zinios. It appeared along with the article ‘What is the Gay Manifesto?’ English translation.
HE Steinar Gil publicly criticized the government’s and the elites’ silence and spirit of benign acquiescence following the neo-Nazi march. Speaking at a March 19th forum on ‘European and Lithuanian Values’ Ambassador Gil remarked: ‘Every foreigner in Lithuania noticed this march, where the participants were shouting “Lithuania for Lithuanians”. We were shocked.’
Ambassador Gil also pointed out that 50 parliamentarians had signed a petition to ban the Baltic Pride parade and asked how many Lithuanian parliamentarians and officials have spoken up against the Nationalist march? He added that every person with respect for herself or himself and for her or his country should condemn this kind of manifestation.
The same state prosecution service that works to send Holocaust Survivors to eternity as suspected war criminals (neither charging nor clearing the innocent persons defamed); and, that is pleased to provide protection and the facade of dignity for neo-Nazi marches (see below at 11 March 2008 and 11 March 2010) spared no effort to ban the 8 May 2010 Baltic Pride parade.
In a typically unbelievable statement worthy of central casting, the head of the Prosecutor General’s office told BNS: ‘I appealed to the court after receipt of information about possible disturbances. The information is confidential, and I would like to refrain from further comment, however, the data we have in our possession suggests there is a possibility of certain disturbances, which we would not want’.
Another classic: ‘Participants of the rally could be targets of violence, we can’t have a police officer for each of them. The event would be protected in its specific location, however, nobody can forecast a crowd’s actions’, he added. Asked whether he had information about a planned riot, Petrauskas said he could not ‘state this specifically’ according to the BNS report. BNS report here.
[8 May 2010 update: While in the end forced by courts to allow the Pride parade (which the capital’s police easily managed), police provided protection and status to the neo-Nazi marchers who for hours flaunted fascist flags near the Reval Lietuva Hotel, flanked by flags of the European Union, Lithuania and various other member states. Eyewitness report and photos here.]
Neo-Nazis, Protected by Police, flaunt Swasticals near Reval Lietuva Hotel During Baltic Pride Parade
BNS summary here. Video here. The state prosecution service that continues to ‘investigate for war crimes’ Holocaust survivors who joined the anti-Nazi resistance, and passes over neo-Nazi marches in utter silence, tried hard (but failed) to stop the May 8th Baltic Pride Tolerance march in Vilnius.
OUR EYEWITNESS REPORT:
After being refused entry into the actual Baltic Pride marchers’ area, on grounds that we did not have individual permits, we were directed to the plaza between the Reval Lietuva Hotel and the CUP department store where we were told the march’s concluding point could be observed. There, police eagerly directed visitors and sympathisers into an ‘observation area’ just below on a grassy hillside. It soon became evident that while limiting the formal numbers of Baltic Pride participants, the police were shepherding visitors into an area occupied by neo-fascists and bolstering their apparent numbers.
O P I N I O N
by Geoff Vasil
2010 was an astonishing year for human rights in Lithuania. Toward the beginning of 2010 there were public demonstrations in the capital by self-designated patriotic youth, decked out in various paramilitary costumes, in plain clothes bearing variations on swastikas and wearing white arm bands. These Lithuanian neo-Nazis marched across the main streets and squares in Vilnius on independence day (March 11th), made a showing to protest against a silent march of people from the main square to a cemetery to honor the dead on Soviet Victory Day (May 9th), and most spectacularly managed to outnumber 10 to 1 Lithuania’s first gay pride march (May 8th) with a violent mob throwing objects, hurtling insults and proudly waving flags with pseudo-swastikas behind police lines. The gay pride march almost didn’t happen, as it hadn’t many years in a row, because of bureaucratic impedance from the Vilnius municipality over issuing a permit and from law enforcement and the parliament. The neo-Nazi marches, on the other hand, had support from within parliament, MPs who personally asked for, and got, permits from the city for a march. Several MPs also came to the anti-gay pride protest with bullhorns, stormed police barriers and generally foamed at the mouth, caught on camera.
O P I N I O N
by Leonidas Donskis
The European Parliament recently reacted by way of a resolution to a piece of draft legislation by a member of the parliament of the Republic of Lithuania, Petras Gražulis. If enacted, his legislation would have de jure expelled from public life homosexual citizens in the country. Since then, several comments have already rung out in our public space in Lithuania, whose essence, despite differences in levels of nuance, is similar: that the European Parliament is allegedly interfering too minutely and grandly in the affairs of the Republic of Lithuania; that it is allegedly violating the principle of subsidiarity; that it is applying double standards because it was so careful in commenting upon the sins of France in the sphere of human rights but ruthlessly attacks the new member states, first and foremost Lithuania.
MEP Donskis challenges attacks on European Parliament’s queries on Lithuanian Parliament’s homophobic legislation
In a new essay, published in Lithuanian on 2 February , and in English on 7 February 2011, MEP Professor Leonidas Donskis takes to task Lithuanian commentators and politicians who have attacked the European Parliament for daring to criticize proposed new homophobic legislation making its way through the Lithuanian Parliament. He also takes note of the unfortunate role of state security services in realms they should have nothing to do with in an EU democracy, while bemoaning their total lack of concern with politicians and their top advisors who flirt openly with neo-Nazi ideology and policies. He writes: ‘Perhaps it is time to worry about the stench from the rising tide of fascist ideas and interpretations of history in our political life and media instead.’ Full text here.
The infamous cartoon of The Jew and The Gay holding up the world was featured in Respublika and other mass circulation newspapers in Lithuania in 2004, and again from 2009. See our reports here, here and here. It came back to the newspaper today.
O P I N I O N
by Geoff Vasil
On Wednesday, November 16th 2011, the Tolerance Center in Vilnius hosted a conference called: Tolerance and Totalitarianism. Challenges to Freedom.
In a decision with a surreal touch of a topsy-turvy world, Kaunas municipal authorities have announced that they are on “security grounds” revoking the permit for a pro-human rights march with a maximum of one hundred people. The march had been permitted for 4 PM this Thursday, 16 February, in the center of Kaunas, Lithuania’s second city. It was conceived in part as a response to the neo-Nazi march which has a permit for a maximum of one thousand people at 1 PM the same day.
300 Neo-Nazis March through the Center of Kaunas on Lithuanian Independence Day; They are Addressed by Members of Parliament
E Y E W I T N E S S R E P O R T / O P I N I O N
by Dovid Katz
With attention focused on the government-permission-granted central Vilnius neo-Nazi march slated for Lithuania’s March 11th independence day — now the subject of an international petition on Change.org — there was minimal foreign interest in today’s independence day neo-Nazi march and demonstration in central Kaunas, Lithuania’s second city. The March 11th independence day marks the date in 1990 when Lithuania declared independence from the Soviet Union. Today’s holiday is on the date of the 1918 declaration of independence which heralded the rise of the modern Lithuanian state in the twentieth century. Both dates are revered by the country’s diverse minorities and factions. They represent freedom from oppression and foreign domination, and celebrate the building of a free and democratic state.
But in recent years, both dates have been hijacked by neo-Nazi groups in the heart of the country’s major cities, with the support of some members of parliament and leading political figures. There is, moreover, the proverbial blind eye of much or most of the elite classes, which serves as a contributing catalyst.
O P I N I O N
by Geoff Vasil
Back in 2008 a friend and I put subtitles to the march by Lithuanian neo-Nazis through the capital, Vilnius, on independence day, and put the video with subtitles up on YouTube. Back then there was almost zero mention of the march where openly fascist youth chanted slogans about attacking and killing Jews and Russians, and the de rigueur “Juden raus.” Following the YouTube posting and as news travelled around the world, certain Lithuanian media figures and politicians felt the need to at least say something. Not much, but something.
Neo-Nazi Youth Organization is Admitted into National “Lithuanian Council of Youth Organizations” (a recipient of European Union “Structural Funds”)
The Union of Lithuanian Nationalist Youth (ULNY), one of the organizers of the annual neo-Nazi march in the center of Vilnius on the nation’s independence day, has been made a member of the Lithuanian Council of Youth Organizations, a body that is a recipient of European Union structural funds as well as Lithuanian government funding.
Media reports confirm that at the national conference last weekend, there were no votes against granting the ULNY full membership in the nationwide umbrella organization of accredited youth groups eligible for state funding. The vote was 19 in favor, zero against with seven abstentions.
O P I N I O N
by Dovid Katz
Vytautas Landsbergis is one of the giants of the late twentieth century. Along with Poland’s Lech Wałęsa and then-Czechoslovakia’s Václav Havel, Landsbergis led his people from foreign domination to freedom and democracy. Nothing these gentlemen might later on have said or done to their own legacies, particularly in the subsequent century, can detract from their singular achievements in contributing to the downfall of the Soviet Union and the freedom of the subjugated nations on its western periphery.
According to Vilnius University’s website, a ceremony to open an exhibition of “envelope art” by Antanas Šakalys will be held in the White Hall of the university’s main library on 27 September at 2 PM. Mr. Šakalys’s antisemitic postcards were on sale for many years at the capital’s main Post Office, and were exposed in 2008 by the Jewish community’s newspaper, Jerusalem of Lithuania.
A Detective Story about an Exhibit at Vilnius University: Jews are Upset, Leftists Protesting, University in Disarray
by Eglė Samoškaitė
Translation of Ms. Samoškaitė’s Lithiuanian article that appeared in today’s Delfi.lt.
Representatives from New Left organization were angered by an exhibit of envelope art by graphic artist Antanas Šakalys scheduled to go on display at Vilnius University library because the artist earlier had used antisemitic and homophobic illustrations on envelopes.
Dovid Katz, who was born in America but lives in Lithuania, published on his website Defendinghistory.com several of Šakalys’s envelopes which human rights experts characterized as antisemitic.
Vilnius University Calls Antisemitic, Racist, Homophobic Artist “Humanistic” as 9 Young Lithuanians Protest; Yiddish Institute, US Backers, Bloomington-Borns — All Silent
O P I N I O N
A dedicated Facebook page provides facts and photos on today’s dignified and courageous demonstration by a small group of young Lithuanian human rights advocates against Vilnius University’s proceeding with an exhibition of an envelope designer whose work features flagrant antisemitic, homophobic and racist material (larger selection here).
Fiokla Kiure’s images of the event are available here; a small selection follows this article.
Earlier report (21 Sept)
Delfi.lt report by Eglė Samoškaitė (25 Sept) [English here]
As of today, both Vilnius University and the Central Post Office are still featuring the “historic envelope art” of designer Antanas Šakalys, though neither of the prestigious venues publicly includes any samples of his antisemitic, Holocaust-distorting and homophobic output.
The following are among the envelopes designed by Antanas Šakalys who continues to be honored by his (other) works being exhibited at both Vilnius University and the Central Post Office in the Lithuanian capital. Details and further links.
These samples are categorized as follows: