Sheinkopf Speaks: The Art of History Repeating Itself

A civilian trains to throw Molotov cocktails to defend the city, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in Zhytomyr, Ukraine March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi
Hank Sheinkopf

You age. You think they’re memories.  They’re events. Some bigger than others. You weren’t there at the place when whatever it was happened. But you know all about it. The event.

One day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Americans  forgot to tell the people whose combat aircraft marked with a bright red star swooped down to murder and maim that it was really very bad to rape women and then bayonet them. Children and even infants were not meant to be attached to posts and used for sabre, bayonet and pistol practice. 

Maybe if we’d told Japanese leaders of the era that those behaviors and the daily incessant raping of women to please soldiers, and medical experiments conducted on prisoners were just plain wrong and that we and the rest of the civilized world would do whatever we must to stop it. Maybe tens of millions might have lived. 

Fast forward. The president of Belarus. He‘s a real sweetheart this one. Demand Democracy? Get shot. Protest a fixed election? Get jailed. Get tortured. No democratic election is going to get rid of him. We should have said something. Now that lover of the human race Putin has a pal bordering Ukraine. Quite the pair.

The Uyghurs. Just a minority to be jailed, beaten, sent to concentration camps. Rohingya? Another one of those pesky groups that want to be allowed to practice their religion. So what did they do with them? They put the Rohingya on rafts. pushed them into the sea.

It’s a funny thing about dictators. And kleptocrats. And killers who use state power as authority to do whatever they want. They practice. They find a group to work on. They watch to see if anyone cares at all. If no one howls too loudly, well as the second story men used to say in old gangster movies, ‘the coast is clear.” Move forward. It’s just another event. So what.

So many events. We protested and cried and served and cried again about the War in Vietnam. The next loud noise you heard was a generally bunch of spoiled pampered brats screaming about Wall Street excesses while some of us had spent our lives as trade unionists actually fighting rather than blabbing. Then we heard no peeps over the murder and rape of the Yazidi women, and men. But, we saw a new wave of protest. More spoiled brats saying working stiffs really didn’t need 25,000 Amazon jobs. The protest led by a short time former bartender who went to a school most of the working stiffs whose jobs she took would never afford. Now she’s leading a revolution filled with cash to topple the existing order so that she and her group of cop and Israel haters can run the nation. That’s the event to occur.

No wonder Putin’s conscience stayed where it was: in formaldehyde. All the people who would have made him think otherwise, were too busy avoiding Yazidi women, Rohingya, Uyghurs, and protesting stolen democracy. They were too busy staring instead into mirrors. Who knows what they saw. They missed the main event. That’s too bad. The bad guys win when we pamper ourselves with ignorance and lies. That kind of con job when you’re up against a Putin might prove fatal. Events matter.