- 23 Mar 22
He's helped them craft a statement in which they deny having any fascist sympathies
"Three days ago, I posted a clip of Ukrainian band Beton (it means Concrete) performing their version of the Clash’s ‘London Calling’, rewritten as ‘Kyiv Calling’. You can see it here:
"My attention was subsequently drawn to photos on the band’s Facebook page showing them wearing t-shirts commemorating Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist leader who collaborated with the Nazis during the Second World War. I deleted my original post two days ago and called the band out for their apparent support of fascism.
"Yesterday, I was contacted by Andriy Zholob, the guitar player of the band, who was understandably concerned by my criticism. He’s a doctor currently working in Lviv with traumatised refugees from the war zones in his country. Beton, he said, are an anti-fascist band and he asked me to help craft a statement that both apologised for the offence caused by the shirts and clarified the band’s position.
"I’m pleased to say that, as a result of our discussions, the band have removed the offending photos and posted the following statement on their Facebook page:
STATEMENT FROM BETON
"Beton apologise for any offence caused by photos of our band members in tee shirts carrying the name of Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera. We have removed the images from our Facebook page. We understand that perceptions of Bandera around the world are different form those held by many Ukrainians. We realise he is a very controversial figure. And we would like to clarify our position.
"Like many eastern European countries during the 20th century, Ukraine suffered greatly from being invaded by both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Badera’s passion for Ukrainian independence led him to both collaborate with the Nazis and then turn against them when they tried to suppress the country. During the most troubling period in our nation’s history, Bandera was sent to a concentration camp for resisting the Nazis.
"His experience is a reminder that our history is complex and we accept there are very dark chapters in it. Nonetheless, we believe that it is up to all Ukrainians, irrespective of their ethnic or religious affiliations, who finally have secured the opportunity to openly and democratically debate the legacy of their historical figures, to ensure that this debate includes acknowledging and accepting crimes that have been committed both against them as victims and by them as perpetrators.
"We need a national debate about our history and contested memory - exactly the kind of debate that would be impossible in Putin's Russia. The invader is trapped by the past, seeing everything through the prism of Russia’s imperial history. We in Ukraine are seeking to escape that prison and to take our place as a nation free to make our own democratic choices.
This is the Ukraine that we are fighting for – a place where people of all races and creeds can work together to build a nation free from oppression.
Slava Joe Strummer & The Clash! Slava Ukraini!"
- Lifestyle & Sports
- 28 Mar 23