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.
I didn’t physically attend that march. No one else did either. It was a fluke that my friend managed to get some video of it. I think we also found some footage posted by Lietuvos Rytas, which, back then, wasn’t publishing openly antisemitic articles and tended, for whatever reason, to present the accepted, global perspective on the Holocaust, Nazis and genocide.
This year I did go, finally. Now that the Lithuanian media has consented to go along with the neo-Nazis’ propaganda program of calling their fascist march “traditional” after managing to get away with terrorizing the public and especially the Holocaust survivor community for several years in a row. And after the Lithuanian media and professional political class have adopted the word “cosmopolitan” in the original sense used by the Nazis of the Third Reich, without bothering to actually define what they mean. It’s an ugly thing to watch a parade of idiots, and I didn’t relish attending the public defamation of the modern state of Lithuania at all, but there were reasons I felt I had to be an eyewitness this time.
The weather just before the march threatened to snow on their parade. A fine mist quickly turned to ice in the air and was then animated by a chill wind. At the staging ground next to the Arch Cathedral of Vilnius, there were a bunch of skinheads and associated lackeys with hair, but also a strong crowd of police standing next to them and beside the police buses. Several young dupes worked the crowd with a donations box while the vanguard of the Lithuanian Nazis huddled and coached the rest on the game plan for the day.
While the Nazis were in huddle, former Lithuanian president Valdas Adamkus, himself a Nazi veteran who fought for the Third Reich against the Soviet liberation, strolled up to the cathedral with his wife and two bodyguards, and disappeared inside, presumably to sit in the first row among equals for the benediction from the Catholic priest involved in putting a religious spin on Lithuanian independence day, who almost certainly failed to warn the congregation there was a large crowd of neo-Nazis just outside the church. After all, some of the neo-Nazis were inside the church, too.
As the vanguard formed the front row of the column, it was apparent that the entire march was using the exact same signs recycled from earlier “traditional” marches. There was the sign about “Lithuanian skinhead” (singular) and the sign about some Lithuanian nationalist martyred by the “gay mafia,” among others. The ice crystal storm abated but was replaced by an even chillier wind. As police ran to form lines on both sides of the neo-Nazi column they set off, looking rather goofy, self-conscious perhaps, with mostly males, mostly young, but several older men who really should’ve known better, and what looked like several Germans or at least Europeans who had come to support their Baltic white-pride brethren, and a few younger women here and there. One was in “leadership” position, with an armband (tricolor, not pseudo-swastika) indicating she was an organizer. Her pallor was ashen but her spirit was undaunted as she flirted with and smiled at police: apparently she was completely brainwashed and sincere. Later I saw her coordinating neo-Nazis in plainclothes posing as journalists and film crews who tried to capture as many details as possible about members of their opposition, especially at the counter-march later in the day.
From the first there seemed to hang in the air the idea of FRUSTRATION. The neo-Nazis had been ordered in no uncertain terms by antisemitic and not-very-bright Lithuanian foreign minister Audronius Ažubalis to tone it down this year, since he had an engagement in Israel at around the same time. Even the usual pro-Nazis in parliament got into the act, adopting a new slogan to replace “Lithuania for Lithuanians”: “For Lithuania in Lithuania.” In keeping with staid fascist traditions, the minions on the street obeyed their masters to some extent, and refrained from the usual “Juden raus” and the folk-song about beating a little Jew to death with a stick, but managed to get out a few rounds of “Lithuania for Lithuanians” before dissolving into meaningless chants of “This is Lithuania,” or the football classic “Lit-Uan-Ia.”
Lithuania’s foreign minister set the keynote for frustration with his infamous and now world-infamous comments about moustache envy (Hitler’s was smaller than Stalin’s), and this seemed to carry over into a general sense of ennui among the marchers whose only consolation was that they were taking pictures of their political enemies along the parade route and at the counter-march a few hours later, which had many more females and better-looking ones at that.
In some sort of synchronistic or perhaps prescient sense of things to come, several of the real protests against the neo-Nazis along their proscribed and heavily-protected parade route addressed the issue head-on. Across the street from the building housing the Lithuanian government several young men, a few of whom appeared to be gay, stood on a bench on the sidewalk, and one held the best protest sign of the day: “I’m looking for a girl. My telephone number is xxxxxxx.” Well, he gave his actual number, but I don’t remember it. Further up the street a girl sat inside the shelter of a bus stop with a sort of “punky” haircut while several other young women seemed to be planning something. As the police cars in front of the neo-Nazis neared, four girls locked arms in the street. They were dressed I guess you might say motley, one was wearing the stereotypical “ethnic costume” of a Roma woman, the others had other kinds of clothes and I think at least one had dyed her hair in a colorful way. This was exactly in front of the Vilnius Jewish Public Library, which has nothing to do with actual Jews and which no one really knows whether is really now in operation months after its late 2011 gala opening to coincide with Lithuania’s fake Year of Holocaust Remembrance. Incidentally, neither the American non-Jewish founder of the library nor the Lithuanian non-Jewish administrator who took over his collection of books were there to protest neo-Nazis marching within feet of this supposed Jewish library, but there did appear to be a secret policeman on guard at the entrance. So these four young women locked arms and began put their index and middle fingers up to their lips. At first I didn’t understand, I thought it was perhaps some ancient Egyptian symbol or something, but then I noticed all four of them had the fingernails of just those two fingers painted black. They were making little Hitler moustaches, and this was a direct reference to the foreign minister’s most recent tilt toward Nazi Germany’s legacy in his country.
The culmination or orgasm of the neo-Nazi march took place at a small pile of rocks outside Lithuania’s Genocide Museum (the one that has next to nothing about the one real genocide that occurred in the country). The rocks were placed there in about 1993 to commemorate Lithuanian victims of the Soviet Union. The ground was covered in dogshit now that the snow had melted. Various flags were hoisted and led in circles around the pile of stones. There appeared to be a poorly-formed Danish flag, a Latvian and an Estonian one, and some newer Lithuanian neo-Nazi flag with a black German iron cross in the upper left field and a picture of St. George in the center. Muffled speeches were given, including the last one which seemed to be in Latvian, interspersed with some sort of translation in Lithuanian. Police at the scene estimated there had been around 1,000 marchers, which must also be frustrating to the coordinators of the Lithuanian fascist youth constituency: their propaganda campaign has been to call their march “traditional” and to show that it has been growing every year, but if it were just 1,000 in 2012, “plus or minus” as the police commander said, then it was no larger than 2011’s march.
The other tactics of the neo-Nazi leaders include denouncing the press and government as biased and discriminatory against them, even as they receive state subsidies for their Nazi Youth camps and are employed by the state at state institutions, and even as the media seeks more and more to accommodate them with “fair” articles about their ideology, uncritical acceptance of the neo-Nazi lexicon including “cosmopolitans” and articles about the “intolerance” of those who preach tolerance and oppose the neo-Nazis. The far right has coined the noun tolerastas (on the analogy of pederastas) to refer to someone in favor of tolerance.
One of their other tactics is the classic one of concealing from the public and their own acolytes their true beliefs. We just aren’t ready yet. We must be introduced gradually to the concepts, to the understanding that the Nazis were the good guys and it was a tragedy they lost the war, although they accomplished much in the few short years they had. In classic Nazi fashion they cloak their organization in popular youth activities, such as the Travellers’ Club run by a notorious Lithuanian fascist for youth recruitment, or they perform civic actions such as “cleaning up” the Seventh Fort in Kaunas (a Holocaust mass murder site in real history). Naive patriotic youth are thus drawn in to organizations whose core is led by Nazi true believers, such as the “PR specialist” of Lithuania’s Genocide Museum whose public crocodile tears are gainsaid by his statements on Facebook, where he appears to be of the belief that Lithuanians must never forget the Holocaust because they may need to resurrect those techniques and do it all over again. He is, of course, one of the poor patriots persecuted by both the media and the government and the political “thought police,” as he spends his “paternity leave” receiving a salary from the state organizing neo-Nazi marches.
In this he is the exception, in that he has a wife and a child. As the Lithuanian neo-Nazi initiate is gradually introduced to the core, as the layers of the onion are peeled away, DISROBED, there isn’t really much female company along the way. There is, however, much male camaraderie, as documented photographically at antifa.lt, where a number of Lithuanian Nazis, some known members of the military, spend manly time together, often with their shirts off, in various kinds of embrace. Happily the Lithuanian military seems to have no ban on neo-Nazis or gays in the military. At least Lithuanian defense minister Rasa Juknevičienė saw no reason to discipline neo-Nazi soldiers who took part in last year’s neo-Nazi march and posed half-naked with their male friends and with government-issued automatic weapons. Perhaps they were simply enjoying what Lithuanian EU ambassador to Afghanistan Ušackas described as a “respite from Communism,” in a manly sort of way (he was referring to Nazi rule in Lithuania, during which 95% of the country’s Jewish population was killed, mostly by volunteer Lithuanian “patriots” honored every day by museums, street names and endless events).
Ušackas, now ambassador of the EU to Afghanistan, who was replaced as foreign minister by Lithuania’s apparently gay president Dalia Grybauskaite for hindering her fake call for parliamentary investigation into CIA torture centers in Lithuania and replaced with underachiever Ažubalis, who also, according to limited-hangout operation Wikileaks, told the Americans not to worry too much about the fake CIA torture investigation or the apparently gay president, who somehow remains the most popular political figure in rabidly-homophobic Lithuania after apparent popular election to that post in a rabidly homophobic country.
What the non-homosexual Lithuanian neo-Nazis, presumably the minority, fail to understand is that they will not meet nice young women by attending the all-male pro-fascist youth camps, or marching in the almost-all-male neo-Nazi marches, nor will the “inner core” grant them access to females after the final DISROBEMENT when the full “ideology”—actually Nazism is a religion, what used to be called a dangerous cult before the Church of Scientology paid millions to have that term changed to “new religious movement, and not an ideology”—stands naked before them, and they consider it in all its rigid maleness, and either bow down and worship or flee screaming into the night of race-mixing, Jewish-banking-conspiracy financed plurality and multiculturalism.
As I said, the counter-march held several hours later had much nicer females. Many of them were undoubtedly lesbians there to symbolically protest the Nazis, just as there were gay men there, but also all sorts of people, some of them with brown skins, some as bald as skinheads, some—a very few—members of parliament, or media people, who came out to show their support for diversity on Lithuanian independence day. And off to the side, there she was, the “organizer” directing different fascist youth in plain clothes to film each and every one of them, for later disposal. The main difference between the two marches was the atmosphere, frustration versus real idealism. The external differences—there were maybe 200 tolerance supporters against 1,000 neo-Nazis, the “tolerance” march was almost completely disorganized and the police presence almost completely disappeared after the Nazis dispersed—didn’t seem to me as important as the spiritual difference. One march was characterized by Control and Deception, and the other by Freedom and Morality.