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9th May in Russia

By Nita Chicooree-Mercier

Victory Day parade in Red Square. Pic – Financial Times

Noam Chomsky, the famous American academic once observed that fighting wars had been a favourite pastime in western countries for centuries. Non-European countries were stunned by the ferocity Europeans displayed in fighting. He added that they even gave beautiful names to wars. Well, they came back to their senses after World War II and opted for a more civilized way to resolve issues. For a change, beautiful names were given by western media to other countries’ uprisings and conflicts: ‘Orange Revolution’ in Ukraine, ‘Carnation’ in Georgia and ‘Jasmine’ in Tunisia, for instance. Names of flowers to qualify wars may sound weird to other countries and reminiscent of England’s ‘War of Roses’. As things stand presently, the west sets the narrative and writes history which the rest of the world takes for granted until a few contemporary historians stand up and deliver their version of historical events in Africa and Asia, namely Dipesh Chakrabarty in his book ‘Provincializing Europe’.

Why the two wars that were ignited in European territories are defined as world wars is questionable. Africa, North Africa, and Asia were alien to the root causes of the wars, and only participated as subjugated people recruited to serve in the armies for the interests of former colonial powers. The reason why hardly any gratitude is expressed towards all these men who were forced to leave their countries to fight other people’s wars during official commemorations in Europe is probably because, as citizens of protectorates and colonies, they were considered as subalterns.

The atrocities committed by Hitler’s fascist regime shattered all conceptions on civilization, progress, culture, and intellectual development in the very heart of the most advanced continent in the world. Slogans like ‘The war to end all wars’ in 1918, and ‘The End of History’ – book by an American academic in 1997 – prove to be erroneous and hollow because they are the intellectual products of navel-gazing self-centred westerners who have not fully grasped the rationale underlying the causes that lead to wars. Second, it would seem that some countries never draw lessons from history. In 1997, Zbigniew Brzezinski, of Polish origin and key advisor of Democrats in the US, published a book – ‘The Grand Chessboard’ – which laid out the policy to be implemented from 2005 to 2015 on how to bring Ukraine, a buffer zone between Russia and Europe, into the European orbit in the interests of the US and isolate Russia. Read More… Become a Subscriber

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