Slava? No, Not Glory But Shame on Ukraine!

By Stephen Karganovic

There is virtually no chance that the Nazi regime in Kiev will feel either shame or remorse for what it has just done. That however does not alter the obligation of decent people everywhere to speak up and brand it with the shame it abundantly deserves.

Chilean-American journalist Gonzalo Lira, has been a thorn in the Kiev junta’s flesh for a long time. On May 1, the Ukrainian secret police arrested him again in Harkov, where Lira, a long-time resident of Ukraine, has been living for several years. From the beginning of the Special Military Operation in late February 2022, Lira has been using his internet bully pulpit to convey to a global audience his take on the Ukrainian conflict. After gaining several hundred thousand followers world-wide with his provocative reporting and commentary from the belly of the beast, the beast has apparently decided that it has had enough.

Lira was arrested in a morning raid by police and soldiers in his Harkov apartment. Ukrainian junta media has confirmed the arrest. Over a week later, however, there is still no word about where he is being held, under what conditions, and whether he has access to consular support and other forms of human rights protection to which he is entitled.

The little information there is about the charges against Lira is mostly unofficial and it consists mainly of reports in the Ukrainian media. According to a publication identified as “The New voice of Ukraine” of 5 May 2023, the charges revolve around allegations of “supporting Russian occupation and valorizing [sic] Moscow’s apparent war crimes during the war.” In addition, Lira is being accused of “attempts to discredit Ukraine’s highest military and political leadership.”

In “democratic” Western countries, until recently anyway, nebulous charges of this nature would have been automatically nullified by constitutional free speech guarantees. The general public would have reacted to them with a shrug and the question: “So what?” In practical terms, the situation today is somewhat different, of course. Fundamental values have indeed been systematically and successfully eviscerated, but the normative framework which the collective West invokes whenever that suits its purposes technically still remains in effect.

Western governments, “human rights” NGOs, and journalistic colleagues have ignored Gonzalo Lira’s plight and refused to make inquiries about his condition or voice criticism of the way he has been treated. For them, it is sufficient that he has not been a team player and that his boldly diverse reporting constituted a radical threat to the mendacious Ukraine war narrative they all unanimously support, if for no other reason than because their jobs and perquisites entirely depend on it.

The first arrest and week-long disappearance of Gonzalo Lira in the summer of last year presumably was arranged for intimidation purposes. Subsequently, he was released and some sort of court case was opened against him, but without any discernible movement since then. This time round, according to Alex Christoforou, Lira’s arrest and disappearance is a matter of much more serious concern.

As Christoforou points out, in present-day Ukraine physical liquidation of non-conformist journalists is commonplace and the steadily deteriorating military situation makes it incumbent upon the insecure regime to finally eliminate from the public sphere the dissonant journalist whose reporting contradicts its own and its Western sponsors’ war narrative. Additionally, in light of impending military operations whose outcome is uncertain, it is advisable from the regime’s standpoint to use the persecution of Lira as a warning to any honest and professional journalists that may remain. The message is that departure from approved content will not be tolerated.

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