VILNIUS—Defending History has still had no reply to its open letter of August 2013 to the Minister of the Economy, asking him to look into multiple media reports that the pseudonymous “Zeppelinus,” Lithuania’s best-known purveyor of hate-popart on the internet is indeed a senior civil servant in his own ministry. The issue came to the fore once again in recent weeks with his “appeal” to the head of the Jewish community, and his latest production following a recent controversial conference (conference report).
The following are samples of his “art” in the service of racism, misogyny, homophobia, antisemitism alongside glorification of Nazism. Samples can readily be found for other prejudices, including anti-Polish and anti-Russian hate. Hopefully human rights organizations will continue to counter such materials, first and foremost by establishing, in partnership with law enforcement, the identity of the purveyor of the hate materials, and the answer to the question about alleged continued high employment in a government ministry. An earlier smaller sampling with full translation is available here. Full disclosure: This journal’s editor has on occasion been a target of Mr. Zeppelinus, too.
Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Human Rights, LGBTQ Equal Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Russian Speakers' Personal Status, UŽGAVĖNĖS (SHROVETIDE), Women's Rights
Tagged Antisemitism in Lithuania, Economy Ministry of Lithuania, homophobia in Lithuania, human rights in Lithuania, LGBT rights in Lithuania, misogyny in Lithuania, Zeppelinus
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[Note: A revised version of this comment appeared on Alfa.lt.]
by Dovid Katz
David Lidington, Britain’s Minister for Europe, has praised the recent Lithuanian parliament vote on a (lamentably ambiguous) draft of a bill to deal with restitution of looted Jewish communal property [Details here.] In his statement, he goes on to say: “Passage of the law will bring credit to Lithuania as it prepares to assume the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). I hope that the draft will now advance successfully through its remaining stages.” [The minister’s statement is reported here; it was triumphantly reported in the Lithuanian media.]
The annual Uzgavenes festival, celebrated throughout Lithuania, again featured costumes and behavior making fun of – and perpetuating the worst stereotypes of – Roma and Jews (‘and monsters’). Roma and Jews comprise two of the country’s smallest and weakest minorities. Most of both communities were murdered during the Holocaust by the Nazis (with massive voluntary participation in the killings by locals). Today, progressive forces continue to live in hope that political, academic, legal, religious and cultural opinion makers in the country will rise to the occasion of explaining the essence, evil and dangers of such rampant racism unconvincingly disguised as the majority’s ‘national ethnographic tradition’. See below at 2008 (→ 6 Feb) for Michael Casper’s Forward report on that year’s event. Photo by Evaldas Butkevičius.
In 2010, Uzgavenes coincided with February 16th Independence Day celebrations. In some areas, Nazi symbols were touted. Occasionally the practice is nowadays packaged as the reclamation of the prewar swastika as a proposed symbol of the nation. In this image, residents of Klaipeda celebrate ‘classic swastika art’. Photo courtesy of DMN. Report here. English translation. [Note: The Klaipeda swastikas led to the court case which legalized the public display of swastikas; see now entry for 19 May 2010.]
Report in the Forward by Michael Casper on the annual public portrayal of Jews and Roma during the Uzgavenes carnival in central Vilnius. (Image courtesy of Michael Casper.) The report notes the attitudes of the state sponsored Center for Ethnic Activity and the Vilnius City Municipality.