By Jochen Mitschka.
On the occasion of the biggest manoeuvre directed against Russia since the Cold War.
People of Russia! I would like to say “dear friends”, but I don’t have the courage. I would like to be your friend, but I understand if this is not easy to accept after the atrocities Germany did to the people of the Soviet Union and especially to the people of Russia. 27 million dead, the largest of all casualties of World War II. But I would like to explain to you why I would like to ask you to accept my friendship, in spite of the politics of my country, which, completely detached from the opinion of the majority of people in Germany, is determined by other forces. And I would like to explain why I, representing many people who were born after the war but raised by the war generation, would like to be your friend.
Decisive for my socialization in Germany was my father. He was wounded seven times during the war, but was repeatedly sent to other fronts until a splinter in his head disabled him for life shortly before the end of the war. He was not a “proud warrior”. My mother told me how once former soldiers wanted to visit him to thank him for saving them under fire. But he didn’t want to know anything more about the war, he would have sent them away, my mother told me.
My father did not like to talk about the war. He was ashamed of having swum along, of having served as a soldier for a system he saw committing crimes. But when, against his will, I joined the German Army for four years in the early 1970s, two of which I “served” in NATO in Mons, he told me how he had become religious again during the war. He told me how people lost their minds when the “Stalin organs” prepared an attack by the infantry and people were being torn to pieces right and left, and how he had started to pray again in this situation. At that time I told him that the new Bundeswehr was not designed for war, but that the task of the new soldiers was to prevent war. And I believed it. After all, that was the spirit of our Constitution, which was also taught in school.
My father was already against the rearmament of Germany. He told me that now it would start again. It would always start like that. I had secretly laughed at him, convinced that the German army was purely defensive and would “prevent wars”. Until the war of aggression against Yugoslavia woke me up from my ignorance. And I had to think again and again about what my father had told me. It started again. And I was ashamed to have laughed internally about my father.
And until his death at the age of 94 years these nightmares haunted him, from which he woke up screaming. I think he would have liked to apologize to the Russian people, but he was too ashamed to approach them. And so now, in view of the biggest manoeuvre of the NATO powers from German soil directed against Russia, I am apologizing in the hope that you will understand that this time there is an ever increasing number of people who do not want to go with the flow, who are fighting against a war with Russia, albeit rather restrained, because the full danger has not yet been recognized.
When German-speaking scientists in absolute ignorance once again speak of enforcing “ideas of order with military power” (1), when politicians again demand more military missions, when the media demonise governments of other countries, when armament is being carried out on an unprecedented scale, then we know that the lessons of the Second World War are slowly but surely being forgotten.
But this cannot be allowed. Therefore, please forgive my father, and let us stand together against this madness. Let us be friends, working together towards the same goal. A world in which rules apply not only to the militarily inferior, but to all! A world in which conflicts are resolved by the attempt to reconcile interests, rather than by blackmail, sanctions and bombs, the power of the strongest. A world in which agreements and rules determine the actions of the great powers, and not the economic and military power available to them. A world where people stick together across borders to control “those up there”, to keep them from doing terrible things.
It is difficult to go against the indoctrination, the social pressure and the power of the media, against the current. But the Internet has opened a window to reality that can only slowly be closed. Let’s try to use this window together to shout out loud and clear:
Peace – мир.
Come visit us, just as we visit you. Let us form common groups on the Internet where we meet and discuss in an accepted language. Let us start common actions to stand up against this madness of a new war. Against this madness caused by this arms race, while more and more people are sliding into poverty, the environment is deteriorating and the Third World seems to see only China as a glimmer of hope.
Please do not let our establishment provoke you. They want you to develop hatred, they want the demonization to lead to an ever greater division. Don’t fall for it. Have pity for those who are misguided, who again, as so often before, follow the reason of state, have fallen for the ideological mainstream, often in the delusion of intellectual superiority, and in the belief that they are in possession of the only truth. We are working to make them lose their power. We are working to ensure that the people of Germany prevent “powers” or “markets” from pushing us into a new war. A war that no normal person in Germany or Russia wants.
I will begin searching for a Russian author who was also brought up by the war generation, and perhaps has gone through a similar development as I have. I would like to invite him to spend his holiday with me so that we can write a joint essay about how the post-war generation has experienced the development of the last decades. Together, that should be the key word.
And I wish that there were plenty of people like me. Tilers, electricians, employees, musicians, maybe even civil servants and soldiers, teachers, nurses and doctors, firemen and policemen, yes, and politicians too. Each professional group should look for partners in the other country and think together about the sense of these huge manoeuvres along the Russian borders. What worked after the war with France because of the massive political commitment must now also work because of the massive movement of the people in Germany and Russia, which should finally put an end to the policy of division.
Alle reden von der Notwendigkeit, dass die EU stärkere militärische Fähigkeiten haben müsse. Das ist richtig. Aber parallel zur Fähigkeitssteigerung muss eine politische Diskussion dazu stattfinden, welche Ordnungsvorstellungen mit militärischer Macht durchgesetzt werden sollen.
— Gerhard Mangott (@gerhard_mangott) February 17, 2020
Thanks to the author for the right to publish.
Picture reference: Viacheslav Lopatin/ Shutterstock
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