Truth is the first casualty in war
Competing narratives continue to perplex distant observers of the Russia-Ukraine War. Recently on these "pages," Leo Goldstein cast doubt about the massacre in Bucha. Being Ukrainian by birth, he has some reasonable credibility. And Russia continues to deny responsibility for bombing a refugee-choked train station in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine.
During the Spanish Civil War, the Basque town of Guernica was supposedly bombed by combined German and Italian air forces in April of 1937...at the request of the Spanish Nationalist forces. The carnage inspired Pablo Picasso, living in Paris, to produce one of his most famous works:
In The First Casualty, a history of war journalism, Phillip Knightley claims that the bombing never happened. Visitors to the site, shortly after the event was supposed to have taken place, found no damage. Ironically, the victorious Nationalists under Francisco Franco refused to join the Axis during WW2...and allowed the British to continue to control Gibraltar...which drove Hitler nuts. It has been suggested that Franco was a crypto-Jew, known in Spanish as a Marrano.
In 2014, "eyewitnesses" to the shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson, MO police officer initially claimed that Brown obligingly surrendered and shouted, "Hands up...don't shoot!" When required to give statements under oath, however, most of the "witnesses" admitted that they weren't even at the scene when the shooting occurred.
Nowadays, we have satellites and cell phone cameras to record events in real time. And yet, what is really happening? Opposing interests have compelling reasons to structure the narrative in order to gain broad support for their cause. During the First World War, a British diplomat named Mark Sykes initiated a hoax that the Turks were massacring Zionist Jewish settlers in Palestine. This was in order to further rally support for the Allied cause...and was fairly credible because of the actual massacre by the Turks done to the Armenians earlier in the war. Meanwhile, the Zionists in Palestine were actually fairly content to continue to live under Ottoman rule. Nonetheless, the hoax influenced Zionist supporters outside the area to push for a completely sovereign Jewish state that we now call Israel.
Even with modern means of information-gathering, it may take some time to sort out the facts from fiction in the Ukraine mess...if ever. Wikipedia still portrays the bombing of Guernica as a real, historic event without any reference to Knightley's contrary version.
Image credit: Pablo Picasso, public domain.