VilNews

THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA

21 October 2017
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The pride of being Lithuanian

Description: Proud to be Lithuanian Framed Tile
Illustration from: http://www.cafepress.com

Text: Aage Myhre
aage.myhre@VilNews.com

I've been asked why VilNews puts relatively much emphasis on articles with historical content. I've also been asked whether our journey around Europe in January should be presented in a publication that otherwise focuses on Lithuania.

My response is as follows:

Sooner or later the history knocks at the door of the present
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis recently said this about the still latent conflict between Armenia and Turkey on the mass killing that took place during the First World War. He is of course right, and the statement is valid for us all, also Lithuania.

The Lithuanian people have for 200 years largely been deprived of the opportunity to know their own nation's history presented in an objective and outspoken way. Those who published historical documentation here were often people who deliberately swept some parts of Lithuania's history under the carpet, exaggerated on other aspects and deliberately misinformed the people. During the years when Lithuania was under Tsarist Russia, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, truth and authentic information was often forbidden or falsified. Today it is no longer so, but I still feel that the knowledge about own history among the people here is not very deep or comprehensive in many cases.

Lithuania is a country that more than many others should be seen and understood in the light of historical perspectives. It is only when one becomes familiar with this nation's dramatic background that one can begin to understand more about the nation’s values and qualities. And it is this perspective we want to have as a backdrop for our articles in VilNews.

We want our readers to have access to deep knowledge of what has happened of good and bad here. Also in cases when this enforces tough confrontations with the past. For example what happened during the Holocaust, the guerrilla warfare that took place in the post-war years, as well as the many abuses carried out by Soviet and its henchmen during WWII and the 50 years that followed.

But Lithuania has also an infinite amount of history to be proud of. Take as an example the 300 years when the country was a world superpower, known as the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It was the wise leaders of this period who caused the British historian Norman Davies to describe Lithuania as "a haven of tolerance".

Lithuania’s dramatic, bloody history during the period 1919 – 1991

Description: File:Wilno 1919 parada.JPG
1919 – 1920: THE POLISH LITHUANIAN WAR
The picture shows a victory parade of the Polish Army in front of the Cathedral after they had captured Vilnius from Lithuania in April 1919.

Description: http://vilnews.com/wp-content/uploads/holocaust_files/image001.jpg
1941 – 1944: HOLOCAUST
Jews being marched from their ghetto in the centre of Vilnius (today’s Old Town) to the Paneriai (Ponary) forest outside the city for execution. More than 200,000 were killed.

Description: http://inter-sat.com/atle/pictures/Sibir01.jpg
1941, 1944 – 1953: DEPORATIONS TO SIBERIA
More than 300,000 Lithuanians were deported to Siberia, tens of thousands dying en route to or on the permafrost.

Description: http://vilnews.com/33_files/image005.jpg
1944 – 1953: THE PARTISAN WAR
Europe’s bloodiest guerrilla war in modern times took place in Lithuania’s forests. 22,000 Lithuanians and 70,000 Soviets died.

Description: http://cdn.dipity.com/uploads/events/8c2bbf74d268f8e3019416b8170e54ab_1M.png
1988 – 1991: BREAK AWAY FROM THE SOVIET UNION
The final chapter in Lithuania's infinitely sad, bloody twentieth century began in 1988 and came to end in 1991 when
independence from the hated Soviet Union finally became reality. The picture shows a part of the 600 km long chain of people standing hand in hand through the three Baltic States on 23 August 1989 to demonstrate against Soviet domination in these three countries that had been involuntarily forced into the despotic union of Soviet States in 1944.

Lithuania is back in the European family

Description: IMG_1305

Lithuania is back in good old Europe. A Europe that has seen dramatic changes through century after century, but that will forever remain "home & castle" for us Europeans. Lithuania played once a very significant role for this continent, but is now to be considered a newcomer into its former neighbourhood. It is, however, in this neighbourhood Lithuania belongs. And now it's time to get to know the neighbours and find the nation’s rightful place in this context.

You who have followed us on our journey through Europe in January, may have learned a little more about the different countries we visited. You may have also seen that there are prominent Lithuanian footprints in pretty much every European country.

Lithuania is now free to revive friendships and relations with its neighbours. Border crossings are open as never before. Despite the differences, it is here in the European family that Lithuania belongs.

But family and neighbourhood also represents commitments. This must be taken seriously.

Lithuanians have many good reasons to feel pride in their homeland. Having knowledge of historical and geographical context is an important prerequisite for the emergence of modern Lithuania, and our VilNews will therefore also in the future focus on bringing information that sheds light on these aspects.

Category : Featured black / Lithuania today



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