Daily Archives: 27 April 2005

Anne Applebaum on What VE Day Commemorates

Anne Applebaum’s latest column in today’s Washington Post makes a point worth repeating:

Try, if you can, to picture the scene. A vast crowd in Red Square: Lenin’s tomb and Stalin’s memorial in the background. Soldiers march in goose step behind rolling tanks, and the air echoes with martial music, occasionally drowned out by the whine of fighter jets. On the reviewing stand, statesmen are gathered: Kim Jong Il, the dictator of North Korea, Alexander Lukashenko, the dictator of Belarus, Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, the former dictator of Poland — and President George W. Bush….

[I]f we are to avoid turning the anniversary of the end of World War II into a celebration of the triumph of Stalinism, more should be done. To begin with, Congress should vote on a resolution proposed this month by Rep. John M. Shimkus (R-Ill.), which calls on Russia to condemn the Nazi-Soviet pact as well as the illegal annexation of the Baltic states. “The truth is a powerful weapon for healing, forgiving and reconciliation,” the resolution states, in a burst of unusual congressional eloquence, “but its absence breeds distrust, fear and hostility.”

Bush, too, should show that he understands what really happened in 1945. Every recent U.S. president has visited Auschwitz, and many have visited concentration camps in Germany, too. Perhaps it’s time for American presidents to start a new tradition and pay their respects to the victims of Stalin. This is made difficult by the dearth of monuments in Moscow, but it isn’t impossible. The president could, for example, lay a wreath at the stone that was brought from the Solovetsky Islands, the Soviet Union’s first political prison camp, and placed just across from the Lubyanka itself. Or he could visit one of the mass-execution sites outside of town.

Of course these would be nothing more than purely symbolic gestures. But a war anniversary is a purely symbolic event. Each commemoration helps all of us remember what happened and why it happened, and each commemoration helps us draw relevant lessons for the future. To falsify the record — to commemorate the triumph of totalitarianism rather than its defeat — sends the wrong message to new and would-be democracies in Europe, the former Soviet Union and the rest of the world.

Leave a comment

Filed under Korea

Minority Huns in Hungary? Ancient Huns in the Pacific?

The wonderfully whimsical February 30 blog is back in action with a series of new posts, among them a note about putative Huns claiming minority status in the Magyar-majority state of Hungary.

My understanding is that the link between the Huns and the Hungarians is purely accidental. Yes, Attila’s Huns set up camp in Pannonia, the land which is now Hungary, and yes, the names sound similar, but this is mere linguistic coincidence. The general consensus is that the term “Hungarian” comes from the Turkic onogur, perhaps meaning “ten peoples”. Attila’s Huns were active in Pannonia in the mid-fifth century, after which they disintegrated; the Magyars didn’t turn up until the year 895, so there’s a big gap to fill.

It was Medieval historians who first made the link between the Huns and the Magyars, trying to integrate legends about their ancestral origins into the genealogies found in the Old Testament.

And a followup about ancient Huns in the Pacific:

Being classified as an official minority in Hungary is not as difficult as it might seem. According to a 1993 law, all you have to do is prove your countrymen have resided in Hungary for at least 100 years and have their own pre-existing cultural, religious or linguistic character. And then you have to collect 1,000 signatures within two months.

Certainly the signature part will be no problem. “This would be easy to collect, as we pyramid-building Huns have distant relatives even in Hawaii,” Novák said, noting the theory that the Huns sprung from a since-vanished island near Hawaii called Ataisz roughly 5,000 years before the birth of Christ.

Maybe French Frigate Shoals (Kanemiloha‘i) should be renamed Ataisz the Sunken Hun Homeland.

UPDATE: The story only gets weirder. February 30 has uncovered the Arvisura, a sacred history of the Huns.

The Arvisura history begins with the sunken ancient homeland of Ataisz, which land is similar to Plato’s written description of Atlantis, but is still not one and the same. According to the saga, or legend (“rege”), it is from here (Ataisz) that the Huns came to be in Ordosz by way of Mesopotamia, where, in 4040, before recorded time, they formed the association of the 24 tribes. The “Palocok Regevilaga” [‘legendary bollocks’–tr.] concisely describes the 24 Hun tribes’ lives nation by nation, from about 4040 b.c. all the way to King Matthias, including Maria Theresa. This enormous span of masterwork takes into account thousands of years in listing in chronological order all of those events which brought into being today’s world that surrounds us, although in a way, or to some extent (nemikepp), from a different foundation than we were able to learn in school.

This map confirms that Ataisz stretched from South Point and Poipu in Hawai‘i to just about the duty free shop at Nadi airport in Fiji.

Leave a comment

Filed under Hawai'i