“Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo?”
Rubashov over at Darkness at Noon recently invited La Russophobe for a bit of a chat. I wouldn’t invite La Russophobe to a piss-swilling contest (it’s nothing personal – I agree with a lot of the things that L R says, if not the way she says them), so I have to give props to Rubashov here.
“Oh, but Natalia! You scum-sucking nationalist totalitarian lapdog! The only reason why you cringe at the tough-love genius of La Russophobe has to do with the fact that your mum’s Russian! And because your first language is Russian! And because you like Bulgakov, whom the evil Russians kidnapped from Kiev and deposited in cockroach-infested Moscow, and you just don’t see the irony!” Whatever. I’m Ukrainian. I have at least two relatives, off the top of my head, who went to jail for daring to oppose USSR’s control of Ukraine. I’ve been called a “stupid khokhlushka,” “khokhlyadskaya morda,” and, best of all, “American spy” – by certain darling Russians. And I’ve long given up on my ambitions to write in Moscow, mostly because the meanest totalitarian lapdogs have, once again, grown their fangs back – and I just don’t have the ovaries to face the music at this point. But when I see this:
[On impoverished babushkas] Truly, they did and do suffer. But let’s not forget that they also caused suffering, including their own. They may have stood passively by while Stalin rounded up their neighbors. They may even have informed on those neighbors. They may have voted for a proud KGB spy to become president, or they may have voted for a proud Communist appararchik. They’re not simply innocent victims, though they are surely pitiable, and though among their number may very well be true dissidents who did all they could to resist dictatorship, true Russian patriots. If they don’t feel the full consequences of their actions, will they ever really change?
… The whites of my eyes turn blood-red and a plume of noxious smoke emerges from my nostrils. Here’s why:
a) Talk about reactionary! Blame an entire generation! How about this one: German women deserved to be raped as the Soviets advanced on Berlin!
b) No one is innocent. We are all human beings, and we participate in the horrors of being human, whether we want to admit it or not. I’m not innocent, L R’s not innocent, Ratzinger was in the Hitler Youth, MLK Jr. probably cheated on his wife, and oh, I’m willing to bet that Anne Frank was guilty of a couple of misdeeds along the way. This doesn’t mean that anyone automatically deserves extreme poverty, starvation, abuse, and a painful death.
Babushkas are soft targets. “They’re ugly and they smell!” “They liked comrade Stalin!” “They eat boiled cabbage!” Please. At this point, babushkas don’t owe us shit. And no one, not even La Russophobe, can now judge who was or was not a “true Russian patriot” – considering the full scope of the chaotic meat-grinder that is the babushkas’ history.
I wholeheartedly agree with La Russophobe that handing a begging babushka some change is not going to solve anything. But if you want to help out – don’t effing condescend to the lowest of the low.
The concept of tough love can work – if you’ve got the integrity and credibility to back you up. Does La Russophobe have that? I doubt it. Though I would love nothing more for someone as articulate as she to prove me wrong…