May 2nd – Memory of the pogrom in Odessa – Speech by Liane Kilinc, chairwoman of the association „Friedensbrücke-Kriegsopferhilfe eV“

Dear friend,

When I hear the roar of war that is currently determining German politics, that even at the price of their own demise they want to practice ’solidarity with Ukraine‘, then I think where we would be today if they hadn’t been silent about Odessa back then.

We would not be on the verge of world war or halfway across it.

From today’s perspective, the path that led to the war began on this date. In multiple ways.

Because the massacre that took place on May 2, 2014 showed who, or rather what, had come to power in Ukraine at the end of February.

Clear and very clear.

Not only in the crowd that shouted “Hail to Ukraine” in front of the burning trade union building;

and I cannot hear this fascist salute without having the images of that day before my eyes.

No, even clearer, more explicit, in the participation of the state.

That the victims were arrested, not the perpetrators.

That there was never a trial.

That the building has been „renovated“ for eight years and that the commemoration is hindered year after year.

And there were these other pictures on the web, this cheering; the Colorado potato beetle held over the candle.

Those catchphrases like „separatist barbecue.“

All very real, in the middle of Europe, in the 21st century.

If you want a war, you have to split reality.

He must make the other side invisible.

It started already during the Maidan, but on May 2, 2014, the western world separated from the reality in Ukraine.

Never before has there been such a crime that has been so visible.

And yet here, in Germany and in all other countries in Western Europe, it basically never took place because it was never reported on.

Would it be possible to talk about „solidarity with Ukraine“ today and mean tanks for the government in Kyiv?

No, it wouldn’t be.

Everyone who heard what happened there despite the silence knows that solidarity is not appropriate with the Ukrainian state, but with the Ukrainian people, especially with Ukrainian anti-fascists.

One cannot “show solidarity” with a power responsible for events like Odessa (and the same people are still in key positions as in 2014) without revealing one’s humanity.

And May 2nd, 2014 is at the root of this war in more ways than one.

Would there have been eight years of war in Donbass without Odessa?

No one in the West bothered to think about what Odessa looked like from the other side.

What did that mean for the people in Russia, in the Donbass, for all those who do not deny Soviet history, who do not deny the bitter defenses of the Second World War?

Only that – if you kill Russians, no matter how visible, no matter how inhumane, no matter how many fascist slogans and symbols, then Western Europe turns its head to the side and sees nothing. When it involves a coup government that the West has just installed, it turns its head and sees nothing.

When this government then attacks its own population with planes and tanks, the West turns its head to the side and sees nothing.

It was like this for eight years.

Whether the Donbass republics were shelled, whether television stations were shut down, whether members of the opposition were shot dead in the street, whether hundreds of people are disappearing, whether there is talk of torture, the West turns its head to the side and sees nothing.

Or fairy tales are told, such as „the separatists shoot at themselves.“

I was there, we provided humanitarian aid to the Donbass for the whole eight years; in the places where you can see the front line.

You can hear from which direction artillery fire is coming.

Because the launch sounds different than the impact. One can also distinguish mortars, howitzers and rocket launchers. You learn it once and never forget it again.

Many of the children who have grown up in Donbass in recent years will never be able to enjoy fireworks in all innocence.

We have had many headlines in recent weeks about alleged war crimes by the Russian army. None of this is remotely as well documented as the Odessa massacre. This is undeniable reality, this is a bloodstain that cannot be washed away. Today, the perpetrators of Odessa are sold to us as the heroes of Mariupol. Yet they were the terror of Mariupol, as anyone who knows what happened in Odessa understands.

Back in 2014, this West, this Germany too, showed in two ways that it wanted to wage war against Russia.

He showed it by disregarding the victims and supporting the perpetrators.

And he showed it by breaking reality in two, which serves no other purpose than to prepare the populace for war.

No one familiar with the images of Odessa would ever again be able to wave blue and yellow flags or shout „Heil der Ukraine“, a shout to which people who managed to escape from the burning building were beaten to death in the square in front of it .

We Germans should be able to decipher this silence.

When the Nazis came to power in Germany, when they immediately started murdering, arresting and imprisoning their opponents, the West was also silent.

It was the labor movement, strong at the time, that tried to break the silence, that took in and protected those who had fled.

But for Western states, Nazi Germany was a weapon being forged to be used against the Soviet Union.

Even the invasion of Poland was still no reason for them to see the Nazis as the enemy.

And no sooner had the Soviet Union defeated Nazi Germany than they did more to save the Nazis than to help their victims.

And today?

What would have been lost if there had been reports about Odessa at the time? Would the countries of the West have defended the values ​​that are supposedly so important to them?

That probably wouldn’t have changed anything about the agreement with the EU.

How much would it have cost to continue to allow Russian-speaking schools, to let the administrations multilingual?

Actually, the rules of the EU envisage it that way, for countries in which there are significant minorities. One could have said after Odessa, stop these Nazi troops if you want to be a European democracy. One could have called for reconciliation in Ukraine. What would that have cost? There would have been no war in Donbass; it would have saved thousands of lives.

So why didn’t that happen?

Why was the Minsk Agreement’s opportunity to pursue such a course missed for another eight years?

Because none of that was the aim of the coup.

Because such a Ukraine could not have been used as a weapon against Russia. That is the only reason that can be found for this behavior today, eight years later.

In order to forge a weapon against Russia, hatred had to be fomented in Ukraine, and the ideology used for this is the same as that used before.

There was silence about Odessa because they wanted to turn the whole of Ukraine into such a horde as they stood jubilantly in front of the trade union building.

What happened in Odessa was no accident, no coincidence, more than the start of a Ukrainian civil war and also more than a horrific breach of civilization.

Odessa was the West’s declaration of war against Russia.

For eight years we tried to break the silence.

About Odessa and about the war in Donbass.

Today we see how, step by step, what preceded Odessa is being repeated in Germany.

Yellow and blue swastikas on Soviet memorials. In our country, which owes its liberation from Hitlerite fascism to the Soviet Union, the victory flag is banned.

A fascist like the Ukrainian Ambassador Melnyk is courted and even allowed to issue instructions to the German government as if it were the Vichy government and Melnyk was the spokesman for a Ukrainian occupying power.

Eight years ago, on May 2nd, on the day the Nazis once stormed the trade union houses in Germany, fascism showed its face in Europe with the fire of the trade union house in Odessa as openly as it had done for decades. We here in the West have not managed to break the silence about it. We have failed to spread the understanding that, ultimately, this means war, must mean war, and the price we pay is that the calamity spreads and takes root here. We talked about Odessa, but our voice wasn’t loud enough. And none of us knows whether we will still be able to talk about Odessa next year.

As we mourn the victims of Odessa today, and the countless unnecessary ones that have followed to this day, we shouldn’t forget one thing: humanity once defeated the fascist beast. She must and she can do it again.

No Pasaran!

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