Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Some touching moments on VE Day until Dubya hijacked it

Some touching moments on VE Day until Dubya hijacked it
IAN BELL May 09 2005
The Herald
60th Anniversary of VE Day BBC News 24, EuroNews, Fox News, TV5, Deutsche Welle, 10.00am
Scotland's VE Day – Countdown to Victory BBC2, 7.25pm (Saturday)
Doctor Who BBC1, 7.00pm (Saturday)
History is rewritten daily, and there is not a lot that most of us can do about it. Sometimes, nevertheless, you come across examples of revisionism so gross and opportunistic they make the word shameless seem inadequate.
The plan yesterday morning was to attempt to get a sense of how Europe was marking the 60th anniversary of VE Day. The old men and women are fast diminishing in number now. The chances of another full-dress commemorative rite are remote. So could the news media convey a sense of differing perceptions and differing memories – in Britain of victory, in France of occupation, in Germany of defeat and absolute devastation? To put it another way: could the rolling news channels do history?
Decent scheme, I thought, until I turned to BBC News 24. There, against a sea of 8300 crosses at the Margraten cemetery near Maastricht in Holland, was George W Bush trying to attach his war on Iraq to the liberation of Europe. The conflicts, he was attempting to say, were one and the same thing. The capacity for disgust I thought I had lost suddenly reappeared. What's a relevant fact in a news report? The BBC announcer seemed to know full well that some people, veterans included, would be offended by Bush's behaviour. Someone could have pointed out that this president dodged military service. They could have added that the Iraq adventure, unlike the war against the Nazis, has been deemed illegal....