I think that members of your generation do feel anger and frustration when outsiders make you seem responsible for the actions of your great-grandfathers. Portugal/Switzerland/Sweden all were helping both sides during wwII. Each has things to be ashamed of and things to be proud of too.
It's so true that victors write history. The allies weren't angels in the war and committed atrocities that they justified at the time, but as time passes and people forget the scalding heat of the events, it's looked at differently.
Do I think a majority of Jews even know about the flag incident? No. I don't. I didn't even know about it.
You know, in my country, we have a lot to answer for in terms of slavery and discrimination against a number of minority groups. Some people get upset about that because they themselves and their families had nothing to do with it. Other people have an idea of "collective guilt." Israel, in my opinion, goes overboard on the idea of collective guilt.
My idea is that we have to look at our countries histories objectively and realize the horrible things done as well as the good things done because it makes us more humble and more willing to keep on striving to be better as a nation. But, it's also important to recognize what is happening today and how we are fulfilling our aspirations.
I always felt when living abroad that I was a guest in that country, and I did not voice my criticisms of the country because I thought it was rude. I was seriously provoked a few times, but managed to hold my tongue. I think it was quite rude of the man to bring up that event when he could have concentrated on more positive things. I think that there are jews who feel the pain of the treatment their ancestors suffered throughout the history of Europe and want to remind Europeans of that history. I think there are black people who are severely and deeply hurt by slavery and discrimination who want to somehow make white America feel that pain. So, I guess I see both sides.
To sit and listen to it must be sort of like getting slapped in the face without being able to respond.
I am not saying my country isn't responsible for a lot of bad things that happened during the War and before. I am perfectly aware of what happened here during that time.
But almost 70 years later, to go to a ceremony and throw this in the face of a generation that had nothing to do with this. A generation that has only heard or read about this period and did not live through it? A generation that has nothing
in common with this dictator or his beliefs? What is this? I would have either laughed in his face or exploded right there if I was there hearing his speech.
You know how into History I am. And you know that I try to be informed about all the perpectives and sides involved. But this isn't about his side. This is about being plain rude, ungrateful and inconvenient.