Updated: 6/22/2005; 9:56:42 PM.


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  Monday, May 09, 2005

  History rewritten over

Last few days I spent more time than usual in front of the TV - watching Second World War stories,  remembrance and celebrations.

It feels strange - being surrounded by "other" views and ways than those that I grew up with.

In Russia it's celebrated today - 9 May - as a Victory Day. I remember it colorful - colorful parades, colorful medals, colorful flowers. I learnt the war - and Victory - stories as I grew up, picking up from adults, from official propaganda, from school, but, most importantly from stories in my family. Especially from the story of my grandparents, carrying their love through the war. Somehow the knowledge about millions who died, fights and suffering was always there, but it was always taken over by the feeling of Victory, the colors that come over black...

Now it's different. Watching Remembrance Day ceremony over Dutch TV was definitely moving, but also a bit depressing - in grey and black - so much contrast with what I knew as the end of the war memory - colorful and full of hope...

That was just learning about the differences... More difficult part came yesterday, in special program on National Geographic... I didn't get the title and googling didn't work, but anyway, the way it was done was really nice. They recorded and reconstructed stories of several people as they went through the last days of war - those of different nationalities, different sides, soldiers and civilians. It was a great learning experience - the history reconstructed from different perspectives - but I couldn't avoid a bitter feeling.

The way it was presented was totally different from what I've learnt in school. Not very surprising, since the dark moments of Soviet history were not new to me... The bitterness came from something what I believe is downplaying the role of Soviet army in that war. Soviets (which, of course, equals Russians for whatever reasons) were portrayed as those that the whole Europe was scared of and had to be protected from. Americans and British were those who saved so many countries from "another dictatorship"...

I do not want to insist on one perspective, especially the one I've learnt at school. I'm happy that I have an opportunity to learn the history as it is broadcasted taught in other cultures. But what I saw yesterday was quite similar to the Soviet history I've learnt during the Cold War time - so painfully one-sided... And it pains more as it was so professionally done.

Even CNN coverage of celebrations in Moscow today was more balanced...

I guess I'll never know the truth - what happened during that war and who really won. History seems to be so easily rewritten...

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© Copyright 2002-2005 Lilia Efimova.

This weblog is my learning diary. Sometimes I write about things related to my work, but the views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

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