Once again, those who shout loudest and most without thought appear to be up to their new, old tricks.
With the illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine well underway, the so call `voices of democracy` and their prestigious cancel culture are at their exhibitionist best.
Universities, Orchestras, school boards, and other places are banning the performance of masters of their arts such as Dostoyevsky and Tchaikovsky and releasing ballet dancers or conductors who are guilty of being Russian.
The current crisis moves from the ridiculous to the more ridiculous, with some universities using the war as an excuse to ban the teaching of Marx and one delicatessen in Quebec changing the name of its poutine to `cheesy-fries` as the homonym with Putin may cause customers distress! Sadly I recall not that long ago that some in the US were lampooned for changing the name of french fries to freedom fries when the French refused to support Operation Desert Storm. I wonder how history will judge these so-called patriots, given what we now know about that operation and its claims?
Sadly and ironically, the current name and culture dropping play into Putin’s hands. He now has evidence that the so-called `west` despises and want to eradicate Russia. Nothing could be further from the truth, yet those involved in this charade of social justice and virtue signalling enable his argument.
Russia, its people and its dynamic culture should be a gem we all enjoy and grow with and from.
Unfortunately, the myopia of cancel culture and its accompanying social-justice performativity will do little to further the efforts of the world to impose sanctions and support the Ukrainian people. Not buying products from Russia are in line with the sanctions; banning great works of Russia’s long-dead serve no public good. Aside, of course, that for providing the SNS influences with clickbait. Frankly, such actions as book banning and shutting performances down can become a silencer of discussion which the KGB at their zenith sought to achieve.
These works are so ingrained into world arts that banning them is a step backwards. To deny Marx his books and teaching in the 21st century, aside from destroying the discussion that should take place around his ideas and those they spawned, appears to reinforce rather than oppose the very values of democracy these so-called cancel culture vigilantes want enabling.
In its current political form, `Russia’ has crossed a line that most of us are rightly horrified by, but let’s not forget the UK, US, and their allies crossed and continue to cross such lines. Yet no one seeks or sought to ban the works of Shakespeare, Robespierre or Ben Franklin. To deny a younger generation, the brilliance of Russian masters serves no purpose other than entrenching an Us vs Them mentality reminiscent of the Cold War.
What has happened in Ukraine is despicable and has no place in an interconnected world. Putin’s actions are an apparent reaction to the forces of democracy as much as they are an affront to global security, the sacred cow of free-market capitalism - it is what cornered rats do.
We can oppose Putin and his action while simultaneously not losing sight that not all Russians support this war and that Russia has helped shape the modern world. I would argue we need Russia now more than ever. Putin current war - less so.
Not only can we do this, we MUST do this.
The world is a complex place, and these are complex matters; however, we should do well to heed the warning to history from Neitzche:`Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process, he does not become a monster.`
Okinawan and Japanese Budo
James M. Hatch
International Educator who happens to be passionate about Chito Ryu Karate. Born in Ireland, educated in Canada, matured in Japan