Photo: Andrius Užkalnis, © 2019 DELFI/Domantas Pipas
Lithuanian writer Marius Ivaškevičius, winner of the title Tolerant Person of the Year for 2017 and recipient of the Lithuanian National Prize for art and literature, was recently summoned to explain to police remarks he made on Lithuanian public radio about Lithuanians engaging in ethnic cleansing of Poles and the removal and mass murder of Jews during World War II. According to Lithuanian media reports, the Lithuanian General Prosecutor’s Office instructed Lithuanian police to investigate Ivaškevičius for hate-crimes against Lithuanians. The Lithuanian Writers Union, the Lithuanian Journalists Union, legal experts and some media have come to the defense of Ivaškevičius. The following is one of many editorials which have appeared recently.
The True Fascists Are Those Who Turned In Marius Ivaškevičius
by Andrius Užkalnis
This very angry text is about the playwright Marius Ivaškevičius, but you won’t find anything here about his work or the national prize he received.
The fact they demanded he not be given the [Lithuanian national] prize and that he received it nonetheless is one of the best things to happen in 2019, and no matter how Eurovision and the elections turn out, at least one good thing has happened. This is a great start to the year.
This article is about Ivaškevičius being summoned to the police to explain what he said on the radio about Poles and Jews.
The playwright didn’t call for killing, oppressing or insulting anyone. He spoke about our people’s (and Ivaškevičius is part of that people, too) historic crime against other peoples. There were people who considered this mocking the Lithuanian people and encouraging hatred of Lithuanians.
This would be the same this as, how should I put this, as if I felt ugly and it was horrible to look in the mirror (and sometimes it is), and someone filed a complaint against me because I insulted males and called for killing them, that I degraded overweight people and encouraged hatred against them, and that I needed to be punished for this feeling of mine.
Every one of us is free to feel guilt according to our taste and sensibility. I also feel guilty because of many things, that is my right and the law doesn’t regulate this. And until now it had been possible to talk about things such as guilt, regret, sorrow, sadness and disappointment without fearing of receiving a summons from the police to account for what was said.
Photo: Marius Ivaškevičius
Ivaškevičius was called to the police according to an anonymous complaint by some crank, and that little person (male or female, but probably some idiot with a penis) is a horrible coward who heard the radio program and came up with the idea Ivaškevičius had broken some laws in force in Lithuania. And that he should be turned over to law enforcement for that. And that’s what he did. He turned him to law enforcement, and the police began to investigate the matter (that’s their job, to investigate matters) and summoned Ivaškevičius to the police station to explain himself.
Why did the police do that? Because, unfortunately, police work under existing laws and (I believe) tend more towards caution than loudly telling a complainant where to go and telling him not to speak rubbish so foolishly, or if he wants to, to confine it to his kitchen. Police cannot do this. They have to operate according to the established order.
Who is to blame for this? Not the police. All the various professional complaint NGOs, experts in being insulted, full-time ulcers and complainers who are not only doing fine in our free Lithuania, who have not only begun to suck and suck up support for their poisonous activities, but have created a terrible atmosphere where if you feel insulted, you make a complaint and try to limit the freedom of others in all ways possible, and you feel as if you are engaged in fashionable and correct behavior–all of these are to blame for this.
You can call anything, according to your ingenuity and ability to ruin things, “mockery” and “incitement to hate,” and then you hold in your hands a club provided by law, and then you can go and beat everyone in a row, whomever you do not like, and they will have no presumption of innocence.
No, in case of mockery and incitement to hatred, if you are so accused, you are required to go to the police and prove you are not guilt. Until you prove you are innocent, you are guilty. I always thought that’s why we created a free Lithuania, so this wouldn’t happen anymore. That you wouldn’t to explain you are guilty based on complaints from tattle-tales.
It turns out I was wrong.
I don’t feel bad about those organizations and activists, in my life I have simply cut off communication with them and their friends, those who contribute to the incitement of real hate and whose correctness of though is based on insulting and punishing those who think and speak in a different way.
It’s allowed to not like peasants, religious fanatics and anti-social people, but only quietly. You shouldn’t say anything. Even about those on welfare, you can’t say “they’re on welfare.” They receive welfare which is paid of our, the Lithuanian taxpayer’s, pocket, but you can’t say they get welfare because that is insulting to them. I have a suggestion: if you are insulted by a reminder about welfare, get off welfare and you won’t feel insulted anymore.
A few days ago I found out the word “pensioner” can be insulting to some people because it stereotypes people according to the kind of income they receive.
What?!? Does your brain hear what your mouth is saying? So if I own my own business and someone calls me a businessman, I should be offended, too? Answer me.
Fighters against mockery, bullying and inciting hate are most often the real authentic fascists who want to control the actions, words and thoughts of others. Farewell to freedom? Not yet, but that’s where everything is headed.
Again, they want to control thought. Ivaškevičius is told to come in to the police station to tell them what he had in mind when he said his words (I should think Marius said what he was thinking). They are asking him to tell them what he was thinking. So Ivaškevičius will have to explain his thoughts at the police station. Because of a complaint by some gnome, troll or ghost. I repeat: Ivaškevičius will have to explain his thoughts at the police station. Does that seem disgusting and strange to you? It does to me.
On the other hand, no one ever said freedom would defend itself. Or that was given to us once and nobody will ever threaten it. No, it needs to be defended, we need to do that every day and those who are more active in this battle will be the winners.
I myself have been summoned to the police and put on trial because of my words. I was even a convict for a time (sorry to disappoint, I am no longer a convict because that article of law is longer in the criminal code). I don’t have any kind words for informants. But one case was so funny I have to tell the story.
You might remember a few years back when violets, creepers, crayons and other species of vinegar makers came up with the idea that children were being abducted in Lithuania, kidnapped at shopping malls, taken to the bathroom where their heads were shaved and their clothes changed, then taken for sale abroad (now there is the belief that children taken from their parents are being sold to same-sex couples who want to adopt in Norway).
Some woman got so seriously involved she made a recording about it and titled it PLATINAM! [Spread this!]. One politician who heard the commotion (I’d tell you his name if I remembered it) instructed law enforcement to investigate the matter.
The police began an investigation and called me into the police state because I had shared that silly recording with others, for fun.
I didn’t feel violated: the investigators were very friendly and were as surprised as I was about what sort of matters they had to work on (I asked them if they didn’t have real crimes to investigate). They questioned me and sent me home. I didn’t feel violated or suppressed, I am not the first writer in the world who has been called to account by law enforcement because of his sense of humor and jokes which violate no laws.
Except, of course, we would really like this to happen much less frequently. Maybe the ranks of the tattle-tales will be thinned by natural selection (God gives life, and God takes it away). I don’t have any kind wishes for them, I only wish they’d go their way as quickly as possible on their road of nasty life. Do you think someone will file a complaint regarding that statement? There is nothing illegal, after all, in wishing someone would walk more quickly.
Full story in Lithuanian here.