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We will also post relevant news worthy items and information on Human rights issues, racism, extremist individuals and groups and far right political parties from around the world although predominantly Britain.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Nationalists attack WWII veterans and Russian diplomats in W. Ukraine

Not everyone regards Victory Day as a cause for celebration. In Western Ukraine, nationalist party members have violently disrupted a memorial service as veterans paid tribute to those who perished in the war.

A holiday for millions, but a street brawl for others. Unlike most of the post-Soviet region on May 9th, the western Ukrainian city of Lvov became a vicious display of neo-Nazism. Several thousand activists from radical nationalist parties blocked the entrance to Red Army soldiers’ cemeteries, preventing war veterans from getting inside and paying tribute.

Some in this part of Ukraine do not see May 9th as a reason to celebrate, believing the Soviet period to be worse than enduring Nazi occupation.

The St. George’s ribbon is traditionally worn on Victory Day to commemorate those who died in the Great Patriotic War. However, putting it on your lapel on this day in Lvov would have constituted a serious risk – regardless of whether you were a veteran or not.

The ribbons were forcibly ripped from the chests of those who were heading to the graveyards. Those who simply wished to pay tribute and to show their respect were also bombarded with abusive chants such as “death to the Muscovites”, Nazi salutes, rocks and smoke bombs. That’s how Lvov marked May 9th.
Activists of the Liberty nationalist organization put up fierce resistance to the police, stoning police buses carrying reinforcements, throwing smoke grenades and shaking the fence around the Hill of Glory, where some 100 people, among them World War II veterans, had gathered for a commemorative ceremony.

Such scenes surprised even the locals, who had grown used to protests on Victory Day, with nationalists wiping their feet on the red victory banner.

“Here, in this picture are my brothers and my father – the liberator of this land from the fascists,” local resident Vladimir told RT. “But these people here do not let me go inside the cemetery to lay flowers on his grave. This is a disgrace.”

Their heroes are people regarded worldwide as Nazi collaborators. Replica shirts depicting Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevich, the founders of the 1940s insurgent army, are a big hit here. They are seen as freedom fighters, even though for a while they fought alongside the Nazi army and killed civilians, Jews and Russians in a gruesome manner.

“Actions like these are an attempt to write off the sacrifices the country made to be liberated from the Nazis and a result of pro-fascist propaganda, like the rehabilitation of Nazi collaborators, like Shukhevich and Bandera,” says Vadim Kolesnichenko, a deputy in Ukraine’s Rada.

This is only a part of a wider picture. A warped perception of the past is making waves in other former Soviet states, namely in the Baltic states Latvia and Estonia, where SS marches glorifying Nazi legions are not uncommon.
As a Russian diplomatic delegation was on its way to the Hill to pay tribute to those who perished during the war, a group of nationalists grabbed a wreath which Oleg Astakhov, Russia’s Consul General, was to lay at the military cemetery.

"The wreath I was to lay at the Hill of Glory memorial at the military cemetery was shredded to pieces," he said in an interview with the ZIK magazine according to Interfax.

Today’s events in Western Ukraine are part of a common trend for some corners of the former Soviet Union, such as the Baltic States, where rewriting of the common history has been widely instigated and Victory Day, therefore, is not celebrated. Supporters of such views claim that the Soviet period was worse than the Nazi occupation. Nonetheless, the scale of Lvov’s Monday violence is unprecedented even by local standards.

With all that, such views, even though common in Lvov, do not dominate Ukrainian society. Most of the country is celebrating the holiday and remembers millions of those who died liberating their country from Nazi Germany.
Russian historian Leonid Dobrokhotov has told RT why, in his opinion, these attempts to rewrite history take place in some of the former Soviet republics.

“Millions of Ukrainians… were heroically fighting as a part of the Red Army against the Nazis during the Second World War, the Great Patriotic War. A lot of Baltic [people] did the same,” he said. “At the same time,…a lot of Ukrainians, especially [those] from Western Ukraine, and some Lithuanians, Estonians and especially Latvians… were a part of the Nazis, the Nazi battalions – nationalist Baltic battalions under the command of [German] Nazis, who did massacres and fought against the Red Army and against the civilians.”

After WWII, the nationalist movements were suppressed in the Soviet Union, Dobrokhotov continued. However, decades later, when the USSR was disintegrating, the West strongly supported the independence of those republics from Russia. Now, the West still regards these former parts of the Soviet Union as its close allies and turns a blind eye to the Nazi tendencies that occur there, the historian concluded.

­Ukraine is a very diverse nation because for the first time in its history Ukraine united in 1939 as a republic of the Soviet Union, said Dmitry Babich from Russia Profile magazine.

To begin preventing Nazi-loving nationalism in Western Ukraine, the attitude of the Western media towards Ukrainian nationalism should first of all change, shared Babich.

“The sentimental attitude towards Ukrainian nationalism that we have seen in European and the American media since the beginning of the 1990s and particularly during the so-called Orange Revolution is simplification that has led to lots of misunderstandings. Even president Yushchenko was idealized for a long time by westerners until at the end of his rule he suddenly made [Stepan] Bandera, a very controversial extremist figure of the Ukrainian nationalist movement, he [Yushchenko] suddenly made him a Hero of Ukraine.”

Unfortunately, a part of the Western press encourages the opinion that at one time Hitler could have been better than Stalin and it resents the Soviet past in former Soviet republics.

This item continues at RT.Com

Blanc facing interview on 'racial quotas' (France)

Beleaguered France coach Laurent Blanc will meet French football federation and Sport Ministry officials later today as part of an investigation into an ongoing row over racial quotas.

Blanc has been summoned to explain his version of events after the Mediapart website released a transcript of a meeting that took place last November in which Blanc and French officials allegedly discussed introducing quotas on the number of dual-nationality players at youth training centres.

A ministerial source has revealed that the meeting will take place in Paris, and Sports Ministry inspectors have until Monday evening to establish their report.

Sports Minister Chantal Jouanno's final presentation of the findings is likely to be released on Tuesday.

Under fire
Blanc has been in the spotlight since reports last month that the idea of quotas for youth players of Arab and African origin were discussed at the football federation meeting.

France Football Federation (FFF) technical director Francois Blaquart, who also took part in the discussions, was provisionally suspended pending the results of the inquiry.

Blanc has denied accusations of racism and said any comments he made at the meeting last year into dual nationality players were taken out of context but could "offend some sensibilities".

Several members of France's 1998 squad have since spoken out about the affair including Zinedine Zidane, the iconic star of that side, who on Saturday voiced his support for the coach.

Asked if Blanc's words in the meeting were discriminatory, Zidane said: "No, and concerning Laurent, let's be straight and clear: I know him well, of course he's not racist.

"I'll go even further: he never even thinks like that because it's not an issue for him. I think that's why he got drawn into a discussion like that."

Lilian Thuram and Patrick Vieira have both strongly criticised Blanc, with Christophe Dugarry, Marcel Desailly, Bixente Lizarazu and World Cup winning coach Aime Jacquet rallying to his defence.

The controversy comes less than a year after France's disastrous 2010 World Cup campaign in South Africa when the national side went on a training ground strike.

Former captain Patrice Evra was one of four players punished for the strike, which was called in protest at the exclusion of striker Nicolas Anelka from the World Cup after he clashed with former coach Raymond Domenech.

Blanc took over from Domenech with the task of rebuilding the squad and they are currently top of their Euro 2012 qualifying group.


Jobbik launches campaign to protect farmland (Hungary)

The radical nationalist Jobbik party will launch a campaign to prevent Hungary's arable land and water resources from getting into the hands of foreign investors, a party lawmaker said on Saturday.

The party wanted to include in Hungary's new constitution, approved last month, a ban on the sale of arable land and water resources to foreigners, but the governing parties voted against this proposal.

Tibor Bana said Jobbik would send its experts on a tour of Hungary to meet those affected, and to reveal "tricks" used by foreigners to buy Hungarian land, despite the European Union moratorium which is in force until the spring of 2014.

Zoltan Magyar, a Jobbik lawmaker from Gyor-Moson-Sopron County, said as many as 12 "tricks" have been identified so far, including faked marriage between a Hungarian and foreign citizen and getting a Hungarian landowner indebted to a foreigner.

Magyar said the government should restart negotiations with the EU on the subject and protect Hungarian interests in the long term.

Arable land makes up 87 percent of Hungary's territory as against the EU average of 27 percent and the global average of under 10 percent. According to data from the Austrian chamber of agriculture, some 2 million hectares of Hungarian arable land is already owned by Austrians, Magyar said.


White supremacist group pushes race-hate messages in Torquay (Australia)

A white supremacist group has been pushing anti-immigration and race-hate messages on the Surf Coast.

The Creativity Movement touts itself as "the most anti-Christian church in the world", with movement members believing that the white race is their religion.

Public property in Torquay town centre has been defaced with stickers reading: "White Power! White People Awake. Save the White Race."

The group's national leader, Patrick O'Sullivan, claimed he did not know who put the stickers up, but argued it was the group's right to do so.

"Torquay's a white area, the majority of locals there are white and we'd like to see it remain a white area," he said. "The stickers are there to raise awareness and get the message out.

"Parts of Melbourne have been taken over by non-whites, which has led to white people moving to other areas, so we believe something has to be done to protect the white race."

Mr O'Sullivan refused to disclose the group's member numbers, but confirmed fielding interest from Geelong, Surf Coast and Bellarine Peninsula locals.

Diversitat chief executive Michael Martinez expressed his disappointment in the group's beliefs, emphasising that they were a small but vocal minority.

"We had this issue about 12 months ago, it's a tiny minority who have nothing better to do," he said.

"There's very little we can do about it, ignoring them is probably the best thing."

The Creativity Movement also risks a fine of up to $239 from the Surf Coast Shire, which is looking into the matter.

"The EPA Act prohibits the depositing of unwanted advertising material and affixing a document without consent," said a council spokesperson yesterday.

Mr O'Sullivan was defiant, defending the racist message and accusing council of having an anti-white agenda.

"I couldn't really care about what council has to say," he said.

"The council should be more worried about fixing up footpaths or whatever, instead of going on a petty political witchhunt. They obviously have an anti-white agenda."

Geelong Advertiser

Eastcote teen Joel Titus banned from protests by far right EDL (UK)

AN Eastcote teenager has been banned from attending protests by far-right group the English Defence League.

Joel Titus, 19, of North View, who has been violent at EDL protests, was slapped with an antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) at Uxbridge Magistrates Court on Friday.

The court heard about the teenager's involvement in a string of incidents between 2009 and 2010, which police say were overwhelmingly related to EDL protests.

Titus was barred from entering or loitering outside mosques or Islamic prayer rooms, attending any EDL demonstration, or visiting an area of Whitechapel for three years.

He is not allowed to be part of a group of ten or more people, whose actions could cause alarm or distress, display a sign or placard, or use defamatory or insulting language which could cause alarm or distress.

Detective Constable Andy Haworth, from the national domestic extremism unit, said: "We hope this anti-social behaviour order will show people we will not tolerate violence being used at legitimate lawful protests."

Edmund Hall, London ASBO specialist at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: "Mr Titus' activities were not simple political protest when he became involved in public disorder and violence.

“Where that sort of activity is present, police and the CPS will seek to control the freedom of that individual through prosecution and antisocial behaviour orders.”

The hearing was brought after Titus was convicted for a public order offence and resisted arrest at a pub in Hillingdon, in December 2010.

Harrow Times

Battle to beat hate crime in Peterborough (UK)

A campaign has been launched to help protect residents facing a gauntlet of abuse and misery in Peterborough hate crime hotspot areas.

Residents living in Dogsthorpe and Welland will be visited by a specially converted “Street Bus” aimed at raising awareness and urging victims in those areas to report intimidating threats and abuse,

The move by Cross Keys Homes together with SaferPeterborough partnership was sparked after 10 hate crimes, ranging from sinister and offensive graffiti to actual assault, were mapped by police and found to take place within just a few streets.

Cross Keys Homes’ director of operations, Claire Higgins, said: “We are targeting Dogsthorpe and Welland as Dogsthorpe, in particular, has been a hotpsot area for us with 10 incidents of hate crime being reported between April 2009 and July 2010 alone.

“We believe that there are more occurrences of hate crime in these areas but that people may be nervous about reporting it and are also maybe unsure as to how to do so.

“We therefore are hoping that our campaign will raise awareness of how we can tackle this extremely unpleasant crime in our communities and importantly enable us to tackle the perpetrators.”

The Street Bus will be visiting certain locations in Dogsthorpe and Welland on Thursday, May 12, from 11.15am to 4.45pm.

Residents will be encouraged to fill out a questionnaire, speak to staff about hate crime and also get the chance to meet soap star and spina bifida sufferer David Proud, who played Adam Best in EastEnders.

There will also be free activities, competitions and giveaways on the day.

Cross Keys Homes’ anti-social behaviour manager, Gemma Wood, added: “Hate crime has been a particular issue in these two areas and we have been working over the past six months with SaferPeterborough partnership to build on the good work already going on in the city and respond to local issues in Dogsthorpe and Welland.

“We aim to raise awareness of hate crime and how people can report it so that residents are able to stand up to those that single people out in our community and make their lives a misery.”

Read more at Peterborough Today

Manchester Cathedral event depicting St George as black goes ahead despite hate mail (UK)

An alternative St George’s Day celebration – with a depiction of England’s patron saint as a young black man as its centrepiece – will go ahead at Manchester Cathedral despite hate mail.

An event to honour St George will see top poets, musicians and artists perform alongside a 12ft puppet.

Canon Andrew Shanks, who helped organise the event, was bombarded with hate mail after the M.E.N. first reported the event was taking place.

But the clergyman has shrugged off the abusive messages, saying the celebration sought to reclaim the saint from extreme nationalists.

He said: "This event is about what it means to be English. It is about reclaiming St George and reclaiming Englishness.

"Extremists don’t like what we are doing because they want to be proud in a racist and exclusive way and use the day as propaganda.

"We are using poetry because it is the opposite of propaganda. We are encouraging people to reflect about what these things mean."

The festival of poetry and music will feature performances from poets Michael Symmonds Roberts and Jo Shapcott, winner of last year’s Costa book prize.

Giant Catalan-influenced street puppets of St George and the Dragon are based on a contemporary altarpiece within the cathedral by artist Mark Cazalet

The puppets were built by men and women who use the Booth Centre and Mustard Tree homeless charities.

The 12ft models got their first outing during a parade through Manchester on St George’s Day April 23.

But many churches have planned later events this year as the patron saint’s festival clashed with Easter. The cathedral event tomorrow evening will showcase new work inspired by an epic poem featuring St George written by Edmund Spencer, a contemporary of William Shakespeare.

It will also feature new work written especially for the occasion by former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion.

The project, which also features a jazz group and a choir, has been funded by a grant from national arts bodies.

Many historians believe the real St George was a Turkish soldier of African origin, executed as a Christian martyr in the fourth century.

The legend of his slaying a dragon, dates back to medieval times.

Canon Shanks, who has written a number of books on the church and nationalism, said the setting within the cathedral was especially appropriate.

The medieval church is officially known as the Cathedral of St Mary, St Denys and St George.

 Manchester Evening News