Ukraine War Day #130: *pēdis

Dear Readers:

Here is how the great writer Victor Hugo described (in his novel 1793), in the most unflattering terms, the characteristics of the typical Bretagne peasant, he who fought with unparalleled cruelty and determination against the Enlightenment brought to mankind by the French Revolution:

[…] ce sauvage grave et singulier, cet homme à l’œil clair et aux longs cheveux, vivant de lait et de châtaignes, borné à son toit de chaume, à sa haie et à son fossé, distinguant chaque hameau du voisinage au son de la cloche, ne se servant de l’eau que pour boire, ayant sur le dos une veste de cuir avec des arabesques de soie, inculte et brodé, tatouant ses habits comme ses ancêtres les Celtes avaient tatoué leurs visages, respectant son maître dans son bourreau, parlant une langue morte, ce qui est faire habiter une tombe à sa pensée, piquant ses bœufs, aiguisant sa faulx, sarclant son blé noir, pétrissant sa galette de sarrasin, vénérant sa charrue d’abord, sa grand’mère ensuite, croyant à la sainte Vierge et à la Dame blanche, dévot à l’autel et aussi à la haute pierre mystérieuse debout au milieu de la lande, laboureur dans la plaine, pêcheur sur la côte, braconnier dans le hallier, aimant ses rois, ses seigneurs, ses prêtres, ses poux; pensif, immobile souvent des heures entières sur la grande grève déserte, sombre écouteur de la mer. Et qu’on se demande si cet aveugle pouvait accepter cette clarté.

Victor Hugo: “For the love of God, take a shower, man!”
Bretagne peasant: “I love my own lice.”


This grave and singular savage, this man with a clear eye and long hair, living on milk and chestnuts, his life limited to his thatched roof, his hedge and his ditch, distinguishing each hamlet of the neighborhood by the sound of its church bell, using water only for drinking, having on his back a leather jacket with silk arabesques, uneducated and embroidered, tattooing his clothes as his ancestors the Celts had tattooed their faces, respecting his master in his executioner, speaking a dead language, which is to inhabit a tomb at the level of thought, pricking his oxen, sharpening his faulx, weeding his black wheat, kneading his buckwheat cake, venerating his plough first, his grandmother second, believing in the Blessed Virgin and the Pure White Lady, devotee at the altar and also in the presence of that mysterious high stone standing in the middle of the moor, ploughman in the plain, fisherman on the coast, poacher in the hallier, loving his kings, his lords, his priests, his own lice; pensive, motionless often for hours on the great deserted beach, dark earpiece of the sea. And we wonder why this blind man cannot accept our Enlightenment.

Reading this passage, I recall, a long time ago, perusing a book on the history of the medieval French peasantry, forgive me I can’t remember the author. It seems that Hugo was not kidding about the lice. It’s hard to imagine nowadays, when French people have the reputation of being so elegant and suave; but back in the day it was true that peasants in the French countryside never bathed, and were swarming with all kinds of vermin, not just lice, but also fleas and genital crabs. Ugh!

I also recall reading somewhere, this time a book on Russian history, the author made the claim that lice never even existed in Russia, until they were brought there by the French soldiers of Napoleon’s army. I find that hard to believe, though, since the Russian word for “louse” dates back to Proto-Slavic times, it is a proper Slavic root (reconstructed as Proto-Slavic *vъšь, modern Russian вошь pronounced “vosh”), and not borrowed from French; I mean, if the French had introduced previously-unknown critters, then the Russians would have probably borrowed the word from them, but they already had their own word. The French word for lice, as we see in the Hugo quote, is poux, which is a different word altogether, and not related to the Slavic one. The etymology is uncertain, but most linguists seem to feel that it comes from Indo-European pēdis which is a derivative from the word for “foot”. Not sure what the semantic shift is here, maybe the ancient Aryans noticed that these bugs which were torturing them, have many tiny feet. The English word “louse” by the way, comes from still another root, Proto-Indo-European *lewH- which gave Proto-Germanic *lūs and also has cognates in Celtic languages.

Jakob Walter and his comrades had to endure every conceivable misery, including lice.

Anyhow, even if the French didn’t introduce lice into Russia, it is certainly true that their soldiers brought quite a few of these things with them in Napoleonic times, leading to major infestations. One only has to read Jakob Walter’s “Diary of a Napoleonic Foot Soldier” to learn how, in addition to all the other miseries these French soldiers had to endure, they were literally being eaten alive during every day of their campaign. For me, one of the most horrific passages in Jakob’s book is when he finally reaches some type of safety, in an inn in Germany; and starts removing his clothes; only to find that half of his neck, around the collar, has been eaten away and is just a bloody gory mess. Gross! Thank goodness that Jakob survived this ordeal. From what I understand, he wrote his memoirs so that his German grandchildren might learn a valuable lesson: Never invade Russia!

How Infections Spread

At this point, my loyal readers are probably wondering where exactly I am going with this “lice” theme. Don’t worry, it’s not what you think (or fear), I am not going to be comparing any human beings, of any nationality, with lice. The metaphor that I am building here, relates to the spread of harmful ideas, in this case Banderism. The “Galician” infection, which spread Eastward, engulfed Kiev, and then most of the rest of the Ukraine, with the exception of the Donbass (and Crimea).

Without further ado, getting to my article du jour, the reporter is Elizaveta Bulkina, and the headline reads:

Kiev Was Forced To Apologize For What Their Ambassador To Germany Said About Bandera

The Ukrainian Ambassador is the odious Andrei Melnik. During an interview with a German journalist, Melnik started yammering on about how great Stepan Bandera was. He claimed that Bandera had no ties whatsoever with Nazi Germany. He compared him with the English anti-hero Robin Hood. When pressed by the incredulous journalist about the mass genocide of peaceful Polish civilians in Galicia/Volhynia during WWII, Melnik waved them off with the assertion that “there were many atrocities and murders committed by the other side”. And further doubling down by claiming “the Poles would love to politicize this history.”

Melnik disgraces self and country.

If you scroll down a bit in the VZGLIAD piece that I linked, you can watch the clip of this interview between the German reporter and the Ukrainian Bandera/Nazi apologist. They speak in German, with Russian subtitles. Here is my translation of subtitles for those who don’t speak German or read Russian:

Reporter: You visited the grave of Stepan Bandera, in your official capacity as [Ukrainian] Ambassador [to Germany]. You said that you idolized him [Bandera]. Let’s start with this. When did you start to admire Stepan Bandera, and why?

Melnik: I never said that I idolized him.

Reporter: Yes you did. You have said it on more than occasion.

Melnik: I visited his grave because… Stepan Bandera… you know, it’s not just for me personally, but for many, many Ukrainians, he embodies the [image of the] freedom-fighter. He who stands for the independence of the Ukraine. And thus, a warrior for freedom, of course. Those who fight for freedom, they are above the law. Robin Hood, for example, is the kind of man who is respected by everyone, but he also broke some laws. The laws which existed at that time.

Reporter: You cannot deny that Bandera was an anti-Semite? And would you concede that he and his people were participants in the murder of 800,000 Jews?

Melnik: No, no, no. He had nothing to do with that.

Reporter: But these were his soldiers. There can be no doubt.

Melnik: You say, “there can be no doubt”, but you have no proof. He [Bandera] was not convicted.

Reporter: To be sure, there is no proof that he killed any Jews with his own hands, but it was his men who killed them. He also ordered them to murder 100,000 peaceful civilians.

Melnik: He did not give the order to kill Jews. I insist on that.

Reporter: But I have read his political platform. He regarded Jews as the biggest enemies of all, even more so than Russians, Poles and Germans. Do you seriously doubt this?

Melnik: I doubt that he gave the order to kill Jews.

Reporter: They handed out leaflets when the Germans entered Lvov. I am reading from the text: “People, you must know this! Muscovites, Poles, Hungarians and Jews — these are your enemies. Exterminate them!” [signed] Your Führer Stepan Bandera.

Melnik: Where did you get that leaflet? What is it?

Reporter: When the Germans seized the city [Lvov] in 1941, [the Banderites] distributed these leaflets among that part of the population which was not already under occupation. They [the Banderites] fraternized with the Germans. This is just so obvious! And I just don’t understand how..

Melnik: I am not going to say to you today, that I distance myself from [Bandera]. And that’s all that I have to say about that.

In Conclusion

And so, Dear Readers, it only remains to tie these various metaphorical threads together, into the theme that I am trying to present. As we know from listening to Melnik and people of his ilk, the absolute core of the Ukrainian Nationalist ideology (which is a kind of religion) is their absolute worship of the figure of Stepan Bandera. Just as the Bretagne peasant described by Victor Hugo, adored the Holy Immaculate Virgin, so too the Ukrainian Nationalists adore their beloved Führer.

Banderism was born as a mass fascist movement embraced by the Ukrainian peasantry of Galicia/Volhynia. In time, over the past 30 years, this ideology has spread, like lice, engulfing other social classes and urban areas, and eventually becoming the official ideology of the Ukrainian government. Just like lice, this ideology has many legs and infects many healthy organisms. Just like lice, it is repulsive and harmful, and yet there are many people, like the Vendee “freedom fighter” described by Hugo, and like Andrei Melnik, who love their own lice.

This entry was posted in Celebrity Gossip, Friendship of Peoples, Human Dignity, Military and War and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Ukraine War Day #130: *pēdis

  1. michaeldroy says:

    I take a simple approach to defining a Nazi as it is too easy to squirm ones way out otherwise
    Either wearing Nazi symbols
    Or justifying murder for nationalist political motives.
    Shelling civilians then makes it pretty clear. The ATO made it clear.


    • yalensis says:

      Yup. I take sort of a zoological approach to the issue of these ideologies. In my definition, fascism is the genus, and Nazism is the species:

      Fascism is many things, among other things it includes the glorification of the “nation” and its Leader; and also dehumanizes other nations and ethnicities. It does not flinch to attack ordinary (non-elite) people from the non-approved group, nor does it make class distinctions between those people; for example, if, say, Poles are the non-approved group, then an anti-Polish fascist (as Bandera was) would consider a Polish landowner = exactly the same thing as an ordinary Polish worker or peasant; and would kill them all, indiscriminately.

      I see Nazism as a special German dialect of fascism, with a particular hatred for Jews that other fascists might not necessarily share. For example, Mussolini didn’t really mind Jews all that much; it all depends on whom one puts in the category of out-group or non-approved group. The German reporter in this clip quite aptly listed the groups which Bander considered to be enemies: Jews, Russians, Poles and Hungarians. Other fascists might not necessarily include those same groups in the enemies list, it all depends on the specifics.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bukko Boomeranger says:

        One of those fascist “dialects” is as an economic system. Mussolini, who came up with the term (or at least mainstreamed it) considered it a fusion of the political and business systems. (He also envisioned a role for organisations representing the workers, although that didn’t mean much for labour’s rights, but I don’t want to go into a tangential discourse.)

        I talk about fascism frequently when I meet new people and we get into political discussions. Which happens all the time with me, because people notice my accent, and ask me why I came to Australia, and things flow from there. I don’t go on at length, because no one likes a bore. I have a quick, easy-to-digest talking point: “Fascism, as Mussolini defined it, is when the power of the government is used to benefit CORPORATIONS, not the population.”

        There’s usually something happening in current events that’s near the top of the news, often some privatisation what used to be a government function, which will enable a corporation to make money on something that used to be free for taxpayers. For instance, the Victorian state government is selling the auto drivers’ licence function to a corpo. WHY should a corporation issue the pieces of plastic that say you have the privilege to drive a car on the roads? And where will the profit come from? Raising the fees to get a licence, for one, and it’s an AMAZING data-mining opportunity with all the photo IDs (biometric surveillance!), home addresses, driving record details (sell that to auto insurance companies), etc.

        My aim here is not to bang on about an obscure business deal in a distant part of the world. Small potatoes. But it’s to describe an example of fascism — the government is letting a corp do something that USED to be a public function. If the corpo does it badly, or expensively, the power of the state will be used to enforce the corp’s demands anyway. There are all kinds of things like that — government actions, backed by the power of the police, that help business make money, even when it screws the population. I describe these things quickly and simply to make my point about fascism, then move on. My hope is to plant a little thought virus to make people think about what fascism is in the Big Picture. It’s not just guys in black shirts goose-stepping down the street!


  2. John Thurloe says:

    Banderism is old whine in new bottles.


  3. S Brennan says:

    Saw this report that shows the shelling of non-combatant civilian areas in Russia by former-Ukrainian “military”. One suspects that the cabal of [Biden-DNPers/Cheney-RNPers] who supplied Ukraine with HIMARS [I add, with what missiles they were equipped witth is anybody’s guess] were used to attack Russia…heck-of-a-job DC.

    Like I said before, it’s just like a bad western where the drunk gambler keeps bluffing and losing to his last dollar and shoots everybody in the saloon for “cheating at cards” !


  4. S Brennan says:

    The 3LAs of DC & London love lice, whatever it’s origin. Here’s* a blast from the ancient past. And speaking of the past, let’s not forget the burgermeister that made the spreading of lice popular in the USA.

    Obama, the US’s most venerated president and not so well known…3LA prodigy 1] a man who escalated AF-PK tenfold and failed; 2] a man who bombed Libya back to the middle ages killing tens of thousands and…normalized the enslavement of Africans [sorta Lincoln…in reverse]; 3] a man who ignited the still smoldering Syrian war…killing 100’s of thousands and spreading terrorism across the globe; 4] And of course there’s Ukraine, thanks to Obama, we’ll always have Ukrainia…to remind us that the neocolonialism touted by DC’s “group-think tanks” failed.

    One man, the urban Democrat’s favorite Prez, the most popular war criminal on the planet and…completely untouchable thanks to the 3LAs control of media. Yes…an iron curtain has descended around the 3LA’s prodigal son. Frankly, I can’t wait until DC’s Dulles Airport is renamed after Obama. Nothing could be more appropriate than to have the name of one burgermeister of lice replaced by another.



    • yalensis says:

      Such a good comment. Yes, indeed, the various “lice” ideologies might differ among themselves in their political platforms and stem from different origins, but the one thing they all have in common: They will find a friendly face and welcoming hand in Washington DC! (Provided they assist the plans of the Empire.)

      Yes, indeed, is it not ironic that America’s “First Black President” re-established African slavery in Libya? Somehow I don’t think this is what MLK died for.

      In my view, On the scale of evil (with 1 being “not very evil at all” and 10 being “quite a lot of evil”), I believe that Obama deserves an 11 or more. He’s right up there with Bill & Killery, what a monster.


  5. Cortes says:

    Hans Zinsser’s “biography” of typhus, the“camp fever” dreaded by armies down the centuries, is a great read:,_Lice_and_History

    The maintenance of good hygiene is fundamental to the wellbeing of armies in the field and one of the best videos to be posted during the current SMO was the early one showing the Russian mobile bathing and laundry facilities. Comments by Americans who watched it (perhaps it was at Larry Johnson’s blog?) were full of admiration.


    • yalensis says:

      That’s interesting, glad to hear that Russian soldiers are able to bathe and get clean clothes. Personal hygiene is so important, not just to basic health, but also to morale. I hope they also remember to brush and floss their teeth!


  6. daniel_s says:

    Pleasant surprise to see Victor Hugo quoted in French 🙂
    A) I find truly amazing how the German accept being insulted by this despicable mr melnik. Not only a banderista, but also an archetype of a “Schnorrer”
    B) For me as a Swiss, reference to Napoleon’s Russia campaign immediately brings to mind the story of a Swiss contingent where about 1000 out of 1300 soldiers died covering the retreat across Beresina river in Belarus. This event is somehow fixed in our collective memory by the Beresina song
    It is all about coping in bad times and keeping hope (the Swiss soldiers were forced to enlist)


    • yalensis says:

      Thanks, Daniel! Victor Hugo is my favorite French writer. Maybe even my alltime favorite. I learned to read French by reading his books. The way he writes, he builds a dense web of virtual reality, using exactly the right words to create the emotional effect. And he is a humanist, as are all of the greatest writers.
      (A) Yes, it is very sad to see a formerly great nation like Germany having to lick the boots of these Ukrainian nazis. I like that German reporter though, he was tough and brought the Melnik monster to heel.
      (B) Thanks for that link, with the great pictures, and introducing me to that awesome Beresina song, which I had never heard of before. I managed to find this rendering on youtube, the German with the English subtitles so everybody can enjoy:


    • yalensis says:

      P.S. – that last stanza of the song is so beautiful and inspiring:

      Mutig, mutig, liebe Brüder,
      gebt die bangen Sorgen auf:
      morgen geht die Sonne wieder
      freundlich an dem Himmel auf.

      One can only imagine what those Swiss soldiers had to go through, and how these words and thoughts comforted them, in their painful retreat.
      Then the German word bangen (“fear”) reminded me of a post I wrote back in March, 2020 (at the height of the covid “plague”). It was about the concept of “fear”, and I indulged in some etymologizing (for those who find the history of words as fascinating as I do; in which, putting on my Comparative Linguistics cap, I believe I have proved that the Russian word boyazn’ fear is one and the same as the German word bang, both stemming from the same Indo-European root.

      Here is the link, for those who want to give it a gander. Sorry for plugging my own posts, the reading is optional, it goes without saying!


  7. the pair says:

    agree with your zoological take. i’ve always categorized people by “type” rather than “race” and use the genus/species analogy often.

    “fascism” is basically “canine” with “nazism” being the german shepherd form and “banderite” a ukrainian shepherd. neither bring anything new to the table as it’s a combination of tribal materialism and social ideas that go back to plato and socrates (and before, but those are the two easiest precedents given their european flavor). even the runes appropriated by nazi and azov types are ancient and a good argument for labeling them “neo-pagans”. (you and your readers probably know about this already, but i love the irony of the swastika being an ancient buddhist symbol).


  8. Bukko Boomeranger says:

    If you had let that French paragraph roll off your tongue — especially the part about the lice! — to the snooty waitress you mentioned in Montreal, she would have been tres impressed!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s