June 10, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

The language of tyrants and the “witch hunt”

Under the conditions of the war, against the backdrop of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, the situation has sharply escalated with respect not only to the Russian language, but also to writers, musicians, and cultural figures with Russian roots.

However, it is unlikely that language bans and blacklists of classics are a good idea. Is it really the language’s fault that tyrants use it? What is the fault of Pushkin, Bulgakov and even Shevchenko, who has Russian-language works?

Our memory should not blame the creators of the past, they cannot be held responsible for the atrocities of modern tyrant politicians. Just as Mann or Goethe should not be responsible for the actions of the Nazis of fascist Germany, but for the aggressive policy of the USA and Britain – Stendhal, Schiller, Hemingway.

Warlords and rulers are fading into the past, it will happen sooner or later, but the geniuses of science and culture remain in their discoveries and works. The same situation with the Russian language. This is not the property of Shoigu, Putin or a part of Russians who openly support a bloody war or, at best, simply do not delve into its nuances and do not understand what is happening.

Also, the German language was not the property of the founders of the Reich and the fans of the Fuhrer, and Italian did not belong to Mussolini. And the speakers of French and English, have they brought little suffering to humanity?

Language is a collective image of a centuries-old culture, a legacy of the past, the history of mankind. These are great works of literature that leave their mark on the ages. These are Chekhov and Gogol, Vysotsky and Tsoi, Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn, Remarque and Goethe, Bulgakov and Pushkin, and many others.

The works of some were furiously burned by the Nazis, while others were banned in the USSR. What about doctors, scientists, pioneers? They are not to blame for wars and terrorism; dictators, politicians, and military leaders bear destruction and death. It is they who should cause hatred and deserve oblivion. Language and culture remain, and continue to give the world brilliant discoveries, high art and love.

Today in the trenches of Ukraine – the defenders of the country, speaking different languages ​​and born in different countries. This unity should not be broken after the end of hostilities, and hatred of specific characters, even if it is hundreds of thousands or millions, should not become the essence of being for entire generations…

Therefore, before opening the hunt for writers and poets of the past, it is worth thinking about punishing the real perpetrators of the bloody events – they must appear before an international tribunal and answer for their actions, and then disappear forever from people’s memory. But not the language and culture…

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