Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 2nd, 2013

Why Hitler invaded Russia? And why Stalin procrastinated in his counter-offensive?

Stalin knew that Hitler is preparing a military aggression on Russia since February 1941, and he knew the exact date June 22 from various sources, including Churchill and Roosevelt personally.

Stalin knew that the war with Germany is inevitable: All he wanted was a delay of 6 more months to be ready and move his troops from the far eastern front.

In the meantime, Stalin signed a peace treaty with Japan: He will be able to move 400,000 troops from the eastern front.

Most of the heavy industries and military factories were relocated to the Ural, midway from both fronts

And Stalin was apprehensive that Churchill might be behind inciting Hitler to attack Russia in order to relieve England and its colonies overseas.

Thus, Stalin did his best to order his armies never to challenge any German violation of Russia air space or even to counter minor German incursions into Russia territory… In fact, the Nazi armies were already waging war deep inside Russia for three days, and the orders to the Russian officers were to retreat and not challenge the German armies: Stalin wanted to believe that Hitler will stop further incursions as he gets convinced that Stalin has no plans for any aggression against Germany

Germany wanted more wheat and more oil for its war machine, and wanted all these increased supplies on credit, as the US was dealing with England. And the Ukraine was the grain basket and the Caucasus the main sources for all kinds of energy.

Actually, the central German armies could have easily entered Moscow byOctober, but Hitler wanted first to occupy Kiev (Ukraine) and Rostov (Caucasus) before encircling Moscow. By the time Moscow was encircled, it was too later, and the brutal Russian winter took the German armies by surprise: They were not equipped for this kind of winter and mud… and winter supplies were not forthcoming…

Hitler ultimate objective was to be the sole dominant power in Continental Europe, including Russia. England, Japan and the US can split the other parts of the world overseas.

Hitler knew that his main potential enemy is Stalin: another dictator who can single-handedly decides on invading Germany and a vast country, almost self-sufficient in all kinds of foodstuff and raw materials.

And Stalin had already massacred 30,000 of his best officers in the purge and was dealing with a disorganized army. For Hitler it was now or never.

Actually, the orders to invade Russia were set to be on May 15, but the attack was delayed till June 22 because about 700,000 German troops were forced to get engaged in Yugoslavia and ready to pounce on the Balkans countries of Hungary, Rumania, and Bulgaria.

The only worry of Hitler from the USA was to transforming England into a vast land airplane carrier, at striking distance of Germany

Hitler dispatched 3 million troops and supported by 700,000 troops from Rumania and Hungary… About 120 divisions.

Two months into the war, Gen. Halder, the highest in command then, wrote:

Back home, they loaded us with all kinds of crap. We believed the Russians could barely engage 100 divisions. By the time we wipe out 10 divisions, the Russians dispatch 10 fresh divisions… ” The Russians could engage 300 division by the time Moscow was encircled.

Stalin had to submit to the same reality when Russia attacked Mao Tse Tong armies in the early 1950’s: As one million not well armed Chinese troops were wiped out by the Soviet armies, Mao dispatched another fresh one million soldiers

Consequently, capturing Russia and exterminating the educated Russians would desist the US from entering the war alongside England. And Russia would be a vast reserve of cheap labor and raw material…

For 6 months, Hitler main concern was to train and indoctrinate entire divisions of SS to exterminate all the Russians, civilians and prisoners. As he told the high officers in the armies: ” International laws on war do not apply this time around. All the Russians under occupation have to be exterminated, villages burned…”

And the Russian counter-offensive reacted in the same manner.

A textbook war of extermination.

Note: For more details

On friendship and feminism?

Hanan al-Shaykh is one of the leading female author of her generation in Lebanon.  Nidal Al Achkar is one of the leading actress and theater director of hers. The pair came together on stage last week at Madina Theater, as part of Hay Festival Beirut, to read stories from Shaykh’s new adaptation of 1001 Nights. The stories remind us of the complexity of humanity that touch on “all aspects of life: justice, injustice, gender issues, strife, the cunning of women, city-dwellers and people from the countryside, hate, love… it also contains very bloody stories, of unbelievable darkness and wickedness, alongside highly charged erotic ones.”

Iante Roach of NOW posted on May 14, 2013

Shaykh and Achkar go back a long way.

Hanan al-Shaykh first became aware of Nidal’s work in the 1960s: her acting talent was attracting the attention of many critics.  Shaykh, the journalist then, interviewed Nidal and followed her career avidly: “she is the person who began real, alive theater in Lebanon, a theater that dealt with Lebanese society and its problems from within, very different from the previous tradition. She was interested in Arabic playwrights and made us realize that theater does not only come from Europe, that there is much more to theater than Shakespeare, comedy, the theater of the absurd… She is an extremely courageous woman, and her play Edrab al-Haramiyeh (The Strike of Robbers in English), was stopped by the government.”

1001 Nights

NOW met with the women to talk about their longstanding friendship, feminism, freedom of expression, and the challenges they have experienced as women in the arts from the 1960s onwards.

In turn, Achkar reveals that she has been a fan of Shaykh’s “for a very long time, both as a woman whose personality fuses femininity and strength to the utmost degree, and as an author, with her modern and sophisticated style – an excellent example of al-sahl al-mumtana (inimitable simplicity in English) – and her stance. When she first wrote, her bold books appalled people.”

Shaykh, whose Shiite family comes from Nabatiyyeh, grew up in the Ras el-Naba’a neighborhood in Beirut. She left Lebanon soon after the outbreak of the Civil War, eloping with her future husband (a Christian) to Saudi Arabia and later to England, where she has lived ever since. Her family found out about the marriage in the press!

The author dispels common myths about her strict Shiite upbringing and her position as a feminist Arab author. “My father was devout, but not a fanatic – just imagine that he let me go alone to Egypt to pursue my studies at the age of 17! Though he wanted me to wear the hijab, I rebelled and convinced him that it wasn’t for me. I used to think he was strict, but now I realize how much freedom he gave me. He was very loving and a little naïve, he would believe me in everything.

For instance, my father saw me holding hands with a boy, and I convinced him that the boy was simply helping me to cross the road unharmed. Initially, he was upset about my marriage, but he came to love my husband (whereas the rest of my family was happy and relieved, as they feared no one would marry me, with my strong character!). My husband’s family had no qualms whatsoever about our interfaith marriage.”

Asked whether she would define herself a feminist, Shaykh replies forcefully: “they pigeon-hole you! Maybe I am, I don’t know. My novels talk about women, strife, society issues – yet so many male Arab authors do the same and are not called feminists!”

Strong female characters appear in many of Shaykh’s novels – such as Ruhiyya and Asmahan from Beirut Blues. “My female characters come from here, from there, from everywhere. Some are women I met, others are members of my family, some I thought I knew, but I don’t know if they really exist. Ruhiyya from Beirut Blues, for instance, a character I adore, was inspired by Billie Holiday, the nickname of my mother’s dress-maker, who smoked cigarettes and was very outspoken and extremely alive.”

Shaykh reveals that she wished to return to Lebanon in 1982-83, “when the situation was really not very good. However, I thought of my children, who were very young at the time. I wanted them to continue living in a peaceful world, and feared they wouldn’t learn anything but fear from living in a state of war. I believe in secular society, and after a long experience of the UK’s real democracy I don’t think I can live anywhere without similar political conditions.”

Nonetheless, the boundaries of freedom of expression in the Arab world have never stopped her from “writing what I feel like writing: I am daring, I do not censor myself, and luckily I have a Lebanese publisher, who was very interested in my adaptation of the 1001 Nights and did not censor it even though I warned him that it was very daring.”

Achkar is an actress, a theater director, an author and founder of Madina Theater (in 1994). She has been seminal for modern and contemporary Lebanese theater. She announces to NOW that she is currently working on two big projects. She will act in a new play which will be directed by Madina Theater director Nagy Souraty. It will premiere in October 2013.

“All I can tell you about my role is that she’s a timeless woman,” she says with mischievous eyes. She will also be directing a big show in 2014, which she has adapted from ancient Sumerian texts, brought to her attention by her father some 40 years ago. “The play will deal with the Sumerian universe, from its beginning with the creation of the first cities and the search for eternal life to its end. According to Sumerian traditions, the universe was created by a woman.”

On her experience as a woman in the arts in Lebanon from the 1960s onwards, Achkar says “it has been a continuous struggle, yet easy because of my very open family, all my friends, and all the writers have been with me from the start. I had a golden beginning and was able to continue thanks to my confidence and the love my family gave me, even though it is a tough world. I enjoy the struggle and I enjoy succeeding and being the first woman to found an open, civil society theater, which fosters freedom of expression.”

The combined efforts of the seemingly delicate Shaykh and the dramatic and clearly forceful Achkar, who have both contributed immensely to the development of theater, literature, and the condition of women (whether artists or not) in Lebanon, created one of this year’s best and most enchanting theater and storytelling performances in Beirut.

One hopes that they will continue collaborating and achieving such ‘inimitable simplicity,’ the result of constantly striving, and that they will continue to take Beirut audiences along on the journey with them.




June 2013

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