In Canada, a movement called Black Ribbon Day is starting to gain momentum as an annual commemoration. Our federal government acknowledges it, and today issued this statement:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued the following statement today to mark Black Ribbon Day, the national day of remembrance for the victims of Communism and Nazism in Europe:
“Today, we take the time to offer our sympathy and support to those who have been victims of Communism and Nazi totalitarianism, and to remember those persecuted who are no longer with us.
“Canada has long been a beacon of hope for those looking to flee the heavy hand of dictatorships and oppressive regimes.
“The marking of Black Ribbon Day in Canada shows that our country condemns crimes against humanity, and that we will forever and always be a stalwart champion for freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”The Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, also issued a statement of support for this commemoration.
Hopefully future prime ministers and governments will continue to issue such statements and show their support every year on this date.
The Molotov-Ribbentrop Act is not as well known in North America as it should be. Which is unfortunate. Much can be learned from it by those who seek to prevent and end war. Provided, of course, that they can see past their own ideology to the patterns that human nature has created over the millenia.
According to Wikipedia:
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact is also known as the Nazi–Soviet Pact, Hitler–Stalin Pact, German–Soviet Non-aggression Pact and sometimes the Nazi–Soviet Alliance.
At the beginning of the 1930s, the Nazi Party's rise to power increased tensions between Germany, the Soviet Union and other countries with ethnic Slavs, which were considered "Untermenschen" according to Nazi racial ideology.
Moreover, the anti-Semitic Nazis associated ethnic Jews with both communism and financial capitalism, both of which they opposed.
In 1934, Hitler himself had spoken of an inescapable battle against both Pan-Slavism and Neo-Slavism, the victory in which would lead to "permanent mastery of the world", though he stated that they would "walk part of the road with the Russians, if that will help us."Well politics does make strange bedfellows. And, obviously, fickle ones.
But as these 20th century totalitarians played their parlour games, millions died horrible deaths.
The thing is, though, that the totalitarians didn't do it on their own. They couldn't possibly. They had to employ useful idiots, many of whom by the time they got to the killing fields, realized too late that they had been duped and conned.
Others (like those today) remained in denial, in blind adherence to their ideologies.
At 7pm tonight Vancouver's Central and Eastern European communities will gather at St. Peter's Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church on 6520 Oak St. (SE corner of Oak and 49th) to remember the victims of Nazism and Communism.