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Remember Babi Yar: Remember Nitesh Kumar Singh
by Thanos Kalamidas
2006-09-30 09:21:10
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The death of the 27-year-old Indian student in Saint Petersburg, Nitesh Kumar Singh, was not the first and, according to what they believe in Russia, won't be the last racially-motivated incident. But why? Russia is one of the countries who have really suffered racial discrimination.

During WWII, Russian prisoners were victims of all the hate discrimination from Hitler’s regime and often, even after the war, the allies found graves with hundreds of dead because of only one excuse: they were Slavs not Arians. How can it happen that the very same people are doing the same to others now, motivated by the colour, because a study in Russia has shown that colour is what attracts all these racial crimes.

Russia has a memory, which it has shown often over the last years; people don’t forget and often don’t forgive either. September 29th, 1941 is 65 years ago and, obviously, there are people who have live memories of the day - far more are the citizens of Kiev. At eight o’clock in the morning that day all the Jewish population of Kiev had to report to the corner of Melnikivsky and Dokhtutov Street carrying their documents, money, valuables, warm clothes, underwear, etc., and now we know what happened next, even then they were suspecting it. The Jews and the people, their neighbours, were watching from behind the curtains.

ovi_ukraine_400175,000 souls were going to be killed by the Nazis as a revenge for the bombing against Nazi installations; that was the Jewish population in Kiev. 100,000 people were gathered in two days at Babi Yar and, after undressing, they were shot by machine guns. These 100,000 souls were not only Jews; the Nazis found a good chance to clear others as well. The number included Roma and Soviet POWs. Let me rephrase it, Soviet prisoners of war. The fathers and grandfathers of today’s Russia.

Among those was Olena Teliha, a Ukrainian poet. You might say that I confuse Russia with Ukraine. That I cannot understand the difference. Really? Is that the problem? Do borders make the difference? Do today’s borders make the difference? Wasn’t the entire Soviet Republic suffering the same? These Soviet POWs that were killed that day were only Ukrainians for a certain village that nobody cares? In the end, history knows now that NKVD was behind the bombings that started everything. What was NKVD, after all, if not Russian? Wasn't NKVD based in the Lublyanka Building, later to become the headquarters of the almighty KGB in Moscow?

The Russian people have a lot to remember, they entered a really dark tunnel, just like most of Europe with the Nazis, and they entered another tunnel after the Nazis when even your origins were a reason for discrimination. Russian immigrants all around the world have suffered from discrimination and I’m not willing to report here the reputation some have built for a nation with thousands of years of history and how this reputation has been carried to innocent hard-working people. What makes the situation sadder is, after all the memories that still live, Russia suffers from a racial crime.

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Asa2006-09-29 15:10:05
It may be 65 years ago today, but I bet it feels like 65 seconds for those who were there. As you say, it makes it worst knowing that lessons were not learned.

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