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People who think that those who left Lithuania had a comfortable life, are sadly mistaken

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Rūta Bražiūnienė

HEALING WOUNDS BETWEEN LT-AMERICANS AND HOMELAND LITHUANIA
Our debate topic in VilNews Forum, with the above headline, has now attracted more than 200 comments. Here is one of the posts, written by Rūta Bražiūnienė:

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While I noticed that the above 156 comments argue about passports, I just have an issue with the first post, that I have not noticed be addressed, yet. "Many here in Lithuania still believe that those who left, whether for economic or political reasons, had very comfortable lives compared to those who stayed behind and had to fight through several decades of inhuman oppression and abuse by the Soviet occupiers."

I totally assume, based on my own previous experience, that people who think that those who left Lithuania had a comfortable life, are sadly mistaken. My parents fled within hours of occupation. They saw close relatives, neighbors, friends be killed by Soviets. They fled to save their lives.

It's hard not to generalize, as we all seem to do that quite well. That generation, who had to make decisions to flee, thought that they would be back in days. Then weeks. Then months. And before they knew it, years passed. They lived in DP (displaced person) camps. There was no luxury there.

The horrors of the Soviet oppressors made them band together, to lobby their politicians, start Lithuanian schools, cultural dance and song groups, and anything they could do to keep the memory of their Lithuania alive. (Estonians and Latvians were in the same situation).

I can vouch for many in my generation, that we were shocked at the devastation of the Baltic lands when we visited decades later. We had heard of a paradise Lithuania our entire lives, and visiting it - was... well, a rude awakening.

Sure, they over-generalized, too. But we banded together, Baltics displaced by WWII all over the world, and continued our parents' traditions, and did what we could to help free the Baltic States. Our parents never had it easy. They worked two jobs, not in their educated field, and suffered a different way, than their brothers and sisters who remained. They sent most of their pay, clothes, food, just to help those whom they could.

Luckily, some made a good life for themselves. But many more tried what they could just to make ends meet.

So when Lithuania was freed, imagine our surprise when there is this almost hatred for those who left. We were just happy to be reunited, or for others, seeing the relatives our parents no longer could.

Nobody had it easy. I wish that those left to grow up under Soviet rule would understand that.

The only thing that would have happened, had our parents not fled, is that they, too, would have been killed by the Soviets.

With all of this contempt, crime, and mostly - lack of acceptance - who would want to move back, only to be labeled, mugged, robbed, humiliated, etc? It's not easy for anybody, folks. We all agree that the Soviets destroyed families, hope, land, etc. What good does arguing about who had it worse do?

We need to move forward. We can't change the past. So all we can do is work towards one goal of acceptance. Please.

Category : Featured black / Speakers corner!

  • […] Read the posts… Category : Opinions […]

    August 15 2012
    CommentsLike

    • I agree about the feelings of not being quite accepted in Lithuania. My favorite saying has been how Lithuanian i feel in America and how American I feel in Lithuania. But nonetheless the pull towards Lithuania and Lithuanianism is always there. irena pozelaite

      July 17 2012
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      • I slightly disagree with this post. Today many Lithuanians have come to the US on a “student visa” or “work visa” and remain after finding a spouse. I know of one situation where a young LT woman married a man from MIAMI. Her husband made her the PRESIDENT of his company that is making between $500,000 and $ 1million a year. Good deal I would say!

        July 12 2012
        CommentsLike

        • Hi Ruta,
          This is a wonderful article, and I agree with you. I don't think anyone could have written it better. Thank you for sharing you opinion.
          Ruta Brazis

          July 11 2012
          CommentsLike

          • Exceptionally well written Ruta! And even those of us who are sons of medical doctors did not have it easy in America. We encountered lost jobs, financial hardships, losing a home. bankruptcy, divorce, chronic illness, having to fight in foreign wars. My "Uncle Sam" was not handing me America Dollars to bale me out! It was our Lithuanian spirit of "I will not be conquered" that we endured and survived. Damn, at times, I am so dog-gone tired!

            July 11 2012
            CommentsLike

            • Ruta, a very well-written and personal view…
              I too share many of your emotions, memories, and hopes…
              Please Please Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease may we all find a way to work together!!!
              Where do we begin???

              July 11 2012
              CommentsLike



              

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