Soccer, Memory and Politics: How Galatasaray Omits Former Star in UEFA Trophy Celebrations
When Joseph Stalin declared his arch-nemesis Leon Trotsky as the public enemy of the Soviet people, he did not only launch an insane purge against the perceived sympathizers of Trotsky. But Stalin, in thrall to the grip of the paranoia in an unimaginable level, even moved to expunge Trotsky’s pictures from photographs and books in a sustained effort to eradicate the living memory of the revolutionary who was among the top leading names of the Bolshevik Revolution along with Lenin and Stalin. Any hint of association with the regime’s enemy simply meant death for many people during the sham Moscow trials (1936–38).
Stalin’s shrewd reorganizing of the public memory provided a useful source of inspiration for George Orwell who, in his 1984 novel, sought to portray a totalitarian regime’s endless machinations to control people’s minds, their access to the archive and historical record by installing an all-encompassing control over all layers of public knowledge. Orwell left an indelible phrase for later generations to describe the nature of that colossal control mechanism: “Who controls the past, controls the future: who controls the present, controls the past…”
The practice was certainly not confined to the historical context of Soviet experience but reproduced and perfected by like-minded regimes ever since. China’s expertise in rewriting history is no less cunning or dexterous than the Soviet one. The Chinese regime, according to Economist and the Atlantic, contrived the installation of a monumental techno-surveillance apparatus, introducing the term of techno-totalitarianism into our life amid the undeniable decay of truth in the political landscapes across the world. Its famous trolls of “50 Cent Army,” its mind-numbing speed to remove any “malign”…