Friday, January 14, 2011

Bashing Russia- an Exercise in Impunity

About two decades ago, a series of movies and books came out which coincided with the rise of Japan as a global economic power ready to take over the world. These movies and books enjoyed only a very brief period of popularity and still earned its owners a sizable profit but Japan collapsed in the early 90ies and simply turned into a shadow of its former self. The Japanese- dominated Pacific Century did not come to fruition. Instead, China arose as the new power for all to contend with.
I read some of these books and all had one thing in them- some cavalier and seriously nationalistic and concerned American taking on the new Japanese Empire and dealing it a serious blow while taking away a girl in the process back home to California. And of course, a Japanese girl would abandon her Japanese suitors to go with a handsome, usually blue collar American with serious military training who would kick any J-p’s a--. A movie by the name of “The Rising Sun” immediately evoked protests and accusations of racism. After all, if you are against the Japanese, well, your feelings are purely race based, aren’t they? At the premier of the movie, there was an Asian American in front of the movie theater carrying a poster- Racist Profits! He felt that Asian Americans would be adversely affected by this hate- mongering movie. And well, he may have been right.
However, for over a century now, the Western World , particularly the English speaking world led by the UK and the US have been bashing and demonizing the Russians in much worse ways, and has been getting away with it nicely because well, no one can accuse them of racism! Russophobia is just, well, perfectly OK. Russians are white! There is also no sizeable Russian community in the US to fight back. Or to care.
Most Anti- Russian feeling in the West comes from the old rivalry between the British and the Russian Empires in the 19th century later followed by the US anti communist stance and the great Cold War. But even as the Cold War ended, the anti Russian sentiment has continued. There was a brief reprieve from it following the Gorbachev’s peace initiative and Glastnost and Perestroika, after which, Russia again became the bad guy , the punchbag for the media and a never ending source of more movie plots for Hollywood. The Communists are going to be back in power, see, and there will be a new Cold War. The Russian mafia and gangsters are invading America and England. Russian women are no longer courageous Cold War brides whose dream is to end up in the arms of their Yank or British husband but are either prostitutes, sluts or mail order brides. There is hardly any news from Russia that is positive that ever finds its way into the Western media just as it is a case with the Arabs except that in the former case, it is safe. No one will come out on TV and try and defend it.
Test yourself: say the word” Russia” aloud! What comes to mind? Communism? Mafia? The Cold War, images of angry soldiers, babushkas? Cold winter? Maybe in the best of cases, a few novels by some very dark Russian writers? Crime and Punishment. Hardly a positive image! Say the word “ the Russians” and dour faces of Communist leaders appear. A soldier with a button on a nuclear device, spies, mafiosis with thick accents, prostitutes, mail order brides, and just very unfriendly , grim-faced and scowling people period. The voice of a male Russian is thick and low; he rolls his r’s, he is drunk, he hates the US, he beats up his girlfriend with a whip. He is the ultimate villain and the only one that is still Ok to show on TV without anyone protesting. In today’s Politically Correct world, demonizing the Russians is perfectly acceptable! And will be so for many years to come. Somebody has to be the bad guy, the Russians fit the bill. They do not want to toe the Anglo Saxon world’s line, are too big to be invaded and subjugated, so, at least they can be bashed into near oblivion. This will also make money for movie producers and journalists with no one protesting much.
Many Americans love to believe that America is the most hated nation in the world. I don’t think so! While there are definitely circles somewhere that hate America, most of the world has nothing but admiration for the US, its culture, its fashions, it technology, it language etc. Same with the UK. But those who like Russia are rare. The only countries that do are maybe other Orthodox nations such as Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia/Montenegro and that’s it. No one else really likes it. And few people respect it.
In the West, tours that promise that there are not going to be any Russians around when you visit Turkey or Egypt are gaining popularity. Imagine tours that promise no blacks or no Asians! This would create an international uproar. But it is OK to make sure that Russians are not involved. It is not racist, you see.
Russia is aware of such attitudes and the whole situation is feeding its defense industry and its overall xenophobic stance. Getting visas to work and live there is becoming more and more difficult, bringing girlfriends or wives out of there also riskier and not really beneficial for them. Think about it: do you really want to bring a Russian woman to a country where every possible media outlet teaches its people to hate her motherland? If you were a Russian woman would you like to live in a society like that? I sure would not!
This is a sad situation and unless the Western world wakes up and presents some kind of balanced view of Russia and its people, things will just continue getting worse and worse. We have been afraid of the new Cold War but it has been going on for a long time already anyway. And it is not going to let up any time soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Likewise here , glad to see his posts.They are words of wisdom indeed.