Fooling with history, Canada turns itself into a laughingstock
Anthony Rota. Photo: AFP
Canada is under fire, again. This time, it has become a laughingstock of the world.
Since the end of World War II, no country’s parliament or politicians have ever honored Nazi war veterans in an official event, as, obviously, it is an act violating the most fundamental value of human society in today’s world. But Canada did. Despite it later pled ignorance for the episode, the world’s audience did seem not to buy it, and the news story has been staying in the headlines among global media for days.
It started on September 22. During a visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to the Canadian Parliament, the Speaker of Canada’s House of Commons, Anthony Rota, introduced Yaroslav Hunka, a constituent from his electoral district, as “a Ukrainian hero, a Canadian hero” for fighting against Russians for Ukrainian independence during the WWII. All parliamentarians then rose to give him a standing ovation.
The move sparked anger across the Jewish world which quickly discovered that Hunka served in a Nazi unit. The Canada-based Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, a human rights organization dedicated to Holocaust education and antisemitism programs, issued a statement on September 24, pointing out that Hunka “served in a Nazi military unit during the Second World War implicated in the mass murder of Jews and others,” and that “an apology is owed to every Holocaust survivor and veteran of the Second World War who fought the Nazis.” Calls for an apology from Canada are getting louder these days from a growing number of countries, including Russia, Poland, and Belarus.
In the face of controversy, Rota announced his resignation on Tuesday and said he did not know of Hunka’s Nazi ties. Yet what’s confusing is that Trudeau and Rota are not the only ones who are blind to the basic history of WWII. When Canadian politicians mindlessly rose to their feet and applauded, not a single professional politician in the Parliament seemed to have considered that the Soviet Union and Canada were on the same side during WWII – the side that battled Nazis together – and that those who fought Russians may be the unjust forces in the war.
It is a vivid epitome of the Western world, where anti-Russia is the overwhelming political correctness, people are reluctant to think: How could anyone who has ever fought against Russia possibly be the bad guy?
Canada has been following the US-led alliance closely in almost every major issue, including the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and tends to seek attention, showcasing its value in the Western world every now and then. Against the backdrop, its foreign policy tends to become growingly irrational and childish, Liu Dan, a researcher at the Center for Regional Country Studies at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, told the Global Times.
Yao Peng, deputy secretary-general of the Canadian Studies Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that the current political syndrome in Canada is defining political correctness based on camp confrontation in the major power game, and the so-called political correctness is above mature, rational, and balanced principles of international relations and order. It is against this backdrop that they tend to shut their eyes to common sense and questioning, resulting in the farce of applauding to a Nazi-linked veteran.
This time, the episode in Canada not only disregards the moral principle and international history established after WWII, but also hurts the feelings of the Jewish world and all victims of the brutal war.
On Monday, Trudeau said the case is “deeply embarrassing,” and then quickly turned the subject to Russia, claiming “it’s going to be really important that all of us push back against Russian disinformation and continue our steadfast unequivocal support for Ukraine.” The logic is ridiculous. What does the ignorance of Canadian politicians have to do with Russia?
Trudeau’s rhetoric only shows that he has little sense of historical and moral justice, as evidenced by his habitual tendency to shift blame rather than introspect in response to the overwhelming condemnation from Jewish groups. He is going too far down the wrong path, Yao said.
Also in September, we see another example of how Westerners turn blind eyes to or distort history. During her speech at the Atlantic Council Global Citizen Awards ceremony in New York on Thursday last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen overlooked the US’ responsibility for the catastrophic Hiroshima atomic bombing in 1945, and Japanese fascist aggression that brought disasters to neighboring countries, while only criticizing Russia for engaging in “nuclear saber-rattling.”
It seems Western countries can say anything and do anything without the bottom line as long as it is detrimental to their rivals, even if their words and deeds go against historical facts, moral conscience, and international norms.
To defeat Russia, the US-led West offered controversial armor-piercing munitions containing depleted uranium to Ukraine, and cluster munitions that could cause deaths and serious injuries to civilians. They also owe the world a responsible explanation over reports of US involvement in the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines, a critical infrastructure delivering gas from Russia to Europe.
The mentality of Westerners is so deeply trapped in the Cold War, and they have lost in the hysteria on the path to completely defeat their opponents. They are leading the world toward a dangerous direction. As Canadian researcher Tamara Lorincz noted, while everyone applauded the Ukrainian Nazi, “Not one MP called for peace, ceasefire and negotiations.”
When Canada, be its ignorance real or fake, crosses the bottom line of basic human values by honoring a Nazi, the Western world, which is used to confusing black and white, distorting history in an attempt to win the major power game, should be vigilant. Those who fool with history will eventually become a laughingstock in history.