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US TV host Jay Leno compares Sochi Olympics to Nazi Germany

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  1. Colin (Queenstown/London) 17 Dec 2013, 8:59pm

    I’m so glad this is being raised at every level.

    One sadness however is Germany today is a wonderful country, a strong economy and contributes on the world stage. How do we stop looking backwards and allow this generation to be all they can be. Respect the past yes but move on.

    1. He did not reference contemporary Germany , so your comment is quite meaningless.

    2. Midnighter 17 Dec 2013, 9:48pm

      You’re right, modern Germany is not the same nation it was under Hitler, but the contrary claim wasn’t made here. In order to “respect the past” we can’t ignore it, in order to “move on” we need to have the past as a point of reference.

      The philosophy and actions of the Nazi party was a mistake to be avoided in future, and we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it.

    3. Colin, I agree totally about modern day Germany. But to ask “How do we stop looking backwards” Really indicates you are not pragmatic! Looking back as academia will attest serves best using our knowledge of the “past” history so we are informed, can enlighten and inspire others not to repeat history.

      By referencing the past, making comparisons most of today’s generation have gained the knowledge and insight of possible reality repeat, to compare today’s Russia with Germany of the past, to be “pragmatic” Many people because of atrocities around the world will remind us it’s important we remember the past… But few Germans would likely say they “Respect” it. I can only hope in a not to distant post Putin era Russians will feel like wise.

    4. Colin (Queenstown/London) 18 Dec 2013, 2:13am

      I respect the comment you all raise.

      However it’s like saying that Britain raped and pillaged every country it touched during it’s empire. It’s true but is that the message you would want for young people today in a modern world? I would not but would not deny Britain did. I worked in Germany for a while. Be assured they are still reminded of the war. They are wonderful people. Can we be Europeans and move forward as colleagues.

      I do not agree with Russia’s stance on gay rights but there are many good people in Russia.

      1. The thing is, as others have said, even the bad in our history makes us what we are. No one is saying that Germany has to be labelled as something it isn’t because of what happened two generations ago. It’s still recent history, not an ancient forgotten past.
        It’s important to know and understand what happened before to make a better future.

        Leno is absolutely right, everyone can see that Putin is almost copying what Hitler did before WW2 in regard to breeding ultra nationalism and using hatred to encourage a pack mentality. This is exactly what he’s doing. Hitler had insane visions about a “traditional” Germany, filled with his idealized people, and Putin is doing precisely the same thing now.

      2. Colin, you ask if we want young people to go forth and rape and pillage. Speaking as someone who does not adhere to an Abrahamic religion which exhorts its members to do exactly that: no, I do not.

        “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana, The Life of Reason, 1905)

        These days, I can assure you from personal experience, educators in Britain recognise that it is better to teach a broad curriculum alongside a fully contextualised fact-based history. Sheep-like deference to our priests and feudal Lords in all matters requiring thought is no longer fashionable (despite the best efforts of Michael Gove).

        Those wearing poppies are not doing it to say “In your face, Germans!” are they? Remembering the past is not the same as dwelling in the past. Learn from Basil Fawlty (Don’t Mention The War http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfl6Lu3xQW0) ;-)

  2. Although I completely agree that the laws in Russia are terrible, I think we need to stop over reacting in our comparisons. They are not the Holocaust, and although there was horrible legislation in Nazi Germany that led to atrocities, it is a completely different thing. Many countries have had laws preventing presentation of same sex relationships without it escalating to the level the Nazis did. Those would be a fair comparison, comparing to Nazi Germany demeans what the victims of the Holocaust suffered.

    1. Can you name one of those countries?

      1. Actually the UK had Section 28 in the Local Government Act that prohibited the promotion of homosexuality as a “pretended family relationship”

        1. Not comparable. Russian law goes much further. Last week Putin declared himself the leader of a block of homophobic countries and called homosexuality evil. It is a number one issue on his agenda. The only comparable movement (with international pretentions) is the Nazi movement in Germany in regards to anti-Semitism, an “problem” which Hitler attempted to “solve” on an international level, just like Putin who has been severing ties with countries in which gay people have some rights.
          Whatever UK did at the time, it was local provincial bigotry without real practical consequences. Putin, on the other hand, sees us as a probem on an international level. There is no country comparable to Russia in this sense, except the Nazi Germany.

    2. LGBT people are being fired from teaching jobs, getting beaten in the streets by the police for speaking out against their governments crimes, the population is carrying out attacks against LGBT Russians with some being murdered. If the Russian state was to pass such a law that effectively prevented Judaism from being discussed in a positive light, the Russian governments actions would be quickly compared to the nazis. The nazis persecuted gay people also during the holocaust, so to call such comparisons demeaning what the victims of the holocaust suffered remember LGBT people are also among the millions lost.

      Russia has always been a backwards country, after all the Russian government and Orthodox Church called Napoleon Bonaparte the antichrist for giving Jews equal rights.

      1. The population carrying out the attacks is not what happened in Nazi Germany. It is terrible that these attacks are being done and the Government are doing nothing about them. The Nazi atrocities were all almost unanimously state sponsored, the examples given are ignored by the state but not started by them.

        I know Nazis persecuted Homosexuals – I have studied the period in a large amount of detail. But to compare the treatment of homosexuals under Nazi Germany (chemical castration, rape, gang raped in the concentration camps and hated by many of the other inmates) doesn’t fit. Your comparing vigilantism (which in this case is obviously wrong) with a state organised industrial killing process.

        I guess what I’m saying is that the Nazis did so much more than just pass laws and they had such a clear ideological focus that the two are not comparable. The Nazis were driven by a barbaric and incredibly extensive ideolpgy which led to mass attrocities, this is not the same thing.

      2. Oh, and very very very few people outside Germany complained about the persecution being metted out. Nazi measures were incredibly broad – Poles were effectively moulded into a new slave class which should know no number above 500 or even read according to some officials. Poland’s intelligentsia, priesthood and upper-middle classes from the time were effectively annihilated.

    3. Sorry, but you are wrong. There are numerous direct correlations between what Hitler did and what Putin is now doing.

      Forget the atrocities of war for a moment, we are not there yet. In the 1930’s Hitler seized power within Germany, and almost immediately took control of all media. Putin has done the same. Just this month he took over the only news organization left in Russia that wasn’t under direct control of the state already. All news in Russia is now state controlled.

      Hitler encouraged segregation of the people, enacted laws to remove the rights of minorities, and unleashed his goon squads. Putin has done the same here. It is widely known that there are thousands of extremists in the Russian Police and Military all over Russia, they are likely involved in attacks, and they are not acting to stop hate crimes in any way.

      Cont…

    4. In 1936 Germany hosted the Olympics. This was used internally to massive propaganda benefits, showing the German people the “power” of their leader and their country. It didn’t matter what people were saying outside of Germany, because Hitler already controlled the media within. Nations didn’t boycott, and they handed Hitler a massive domestic boost by participating.

      Hitler created gulags and Ghettos, Putin is expected to sign a new bill that’s likely to return to the Duma after the Olympics mandating the creation of 82 prison camps across the country – the ONLY reason for so many being created is mass imprisonment of minorities.

      Another bill is expected to go through the Duma after the Olympics giving the state the power to destroy families where any member is LGBT. They plan to break these families apart, although how this will happen is as yet unclear. In Hitler’s Germany, the same was done.

      Putin is following a historical guide.

    5. Frank Boulton 18 Dec 2013, 2:29pm

      A chilling parallel between Putin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany is the remarkable timing of legislation regarding sexual relationships in the year preceding Olympic Games. Putin signed the legislation concerning the prohibition of the promotion of “non-traditional” relationships to minors in the year preceding the Sochi Winter Olympics. Hitler’s Germany passed the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour in 1935, the year before the 1936 German Olympics. This law forbade marriage and extramarital relationships between Jews and non-Jews.

    6. BillyExPat 18 Dec 2013, 3:48pm

      Lemuel — if in 1938-39, before your grandparents/great-grandparents were obliterated by national socialism, when the laws sequestering them, humilating them and encouraging their persecution were established — would you have had the courage to stand up for your people and say no? I doubt it according to your claim of “over reacting” to these same laws in Russia. Your religious hypocrisy is sickening and you have absolutely no moral authority to claim “your” Holocaust when MY people (gays, gypsies and others) were annhilated as well. Get over your religious chauvanism and heartless egocentrism. You are the problem with the Israeli/Jewish image in our democracies these days. Shame.

  3. Well done Jay Leno!!!!

  4. He’s right, Russia is a disgusting place.

    1. What is happening in Russia is disgusting not the place or the people itself.

      1. There comes a point where lack of action on the part of the public lays blame at their door.

        The government is a representative of the people. In a real democratic nation the people stand up and protest when their government does something radical like this. Where are the protests in Russia?

        I’m sorry, I would love to believe that the Russian people are more modern and rational, support Human rights and can think for themselves, but all evidence suggests that the masses in Russia are just as hateful and bigoted as their leader, at the very least they are indifferent to the rights of other Russians.

        Why are they not out on the streets protesting the government? And please don’t say “they’re scared”. They weren’t so scared when they were protesting Putin’s clearly rigged election!

        1. Agreed, but its worth noting that corruption and monolithic leadership is a fact of political life in Russia going right back to the Tsars.

          Yes, the fault lays with the citizenry for not having fought against the corruption of their authorities, but we should recognise that it isn’t just the fault of the present generation; they’ve been conditioned to this system for centuries.

          I think fear does play a large part in it myself (and rightly so, given the brutality we know the authorities are capable of) but also to a large degree apathetic acceptance of the status quo, and then – as you say -indifference to the rights (and plights) of others.

          I both hope for and dread the day when the citizenry of Russia says “enough is enough”.

          1. When Purin stole the election there were huge and prolonged protests which he used the police to break up. The leading lights were beaten and arrested and he used the old trick of saying they were trying to destabilise the country. Foreign news crews covering the growing protests were harassed.

            There were many regular citizens out on the streets warning that Putin was a dangerous, corrupt liar who would do exactly the sort of things he is now doing.

            There are plenty of Russians who care, but protesting against Putin is not easy. We need to do more in the West to ensure Put in’s Russia is treated like a pariah state.

  5. I’m embarrassed for Russians that they have let this irrational homophobic law pass , it shows a big flaw in the mentality of the Russian people, that flaw being mainly the vice like grip that the Russian Orthodox church has on the population and upon Putin.

  6. When will the west stop imposing their belief systems on the rest of the World. Leave Russia to determine it’s own destiny after all, your rights were not granted overnight. If you go to the games go to participate and not demonstrate otherwise just stay away.

    1. Because what the Russians are doing is against the entire ethos of the olympic ideal.

      Ergo. These “games” are not valid.

      1. Beelzeebub, the current ethos of the olympic ideal is “money” at any cost. Commercialism far outweighs any morality.

        Kat, you wrote “your rights were not granted overnight”. Fundamental human rights are not granted, they are removed and restored. We do not fight to get something we never had, we fight to restore that which has been removed. To idly sit by waiting for ignorant bigots to decide our fate at their leisure is being content as their sheep, hoping the butcher eventually gets tired of slaughtering.

        It is not greed nor impatience to demand what is rightfully yours.

        There is no such thing as Russian human rights, British human rights, American human rights, or Tanzanian human rights. Politics be damned.

    2. Human rights is not a “belief system”. The fact that you even think that makes me wonder why the hell you’re on this site to begin with.

      When one group of people attacks, assaults, abuses, imprisons and dehumanizes an entire section of society for nothing more than political and religious ideology the entire world needs to stand up and fight it with everything they have.

      No nation on this Earth has the “right” to victimize any citizens based on their own moralistic delusions.

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  8. I’d have preferred if Jay Leno had compared the situation of gay people in Russia with the situation of gay people in Nazi Germany. They shared in large numbers the horrible fate of the European Jews and shouldn’t be forgotten. It’s all nice and well, that the Presidents of France and Germany won’t go Sochi, but they should rather offer asylum on grounds of homosexuality.

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