LaMelo LaFrance Ball is an American professional basketball player for the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association. He was selected by the Hornets with the third overall pick of the 2020 NBA draft. Ball was voted the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2021 and named an NBA All-Star the following season in 2022.
Anybody who knows me knows my aversion to sport and physical exercise, so, what could I possibly have in common with LaMelo?
LaMelo is a Californian, so am I.
LaMelo moved to Lithuania in 2017, I am a Lithuanian citizen. My family was murdered by Lithuanians, in Lithuania.
And there our similarities end.
Lithuania is known for its strong basketball culture. The sport is extremely popular, and many Lithuanians have become famous for their talents on the court. The Lithuanian national team has also achieved great success in international competitions, including Olympic medals and FIBA World Cup victories.
Lithuania’s most famous basketball game reportedly took place in Kaunas. Joseph Gar wrote an account of this game in his testimony, “The extermination of the Jews of Kovno”.
Gar writes: “at the same time the captured prisoners were held at the Fort, there was a basketball game taking place in Kovno, between a German military team and a Lithuanian team. The Lithuanians were great experts in this sport and for a time were the champions of basketball in Europe, so they had a victory match. As a “prize” every one of the victorious Lithuanian team members got the right to shoot a dozen Jews at the 7th Fort”.
According to this testimony, murdering Jews was, for Lithuanians, a coveted and treasured prize!
Hideous values persist in Lithuania where murderers of Jews continue to be glorified as national heroes. The veneer of civilization is thin indeed in Lithuania, a nation which remains a giant crime scene, where the Government has never punished a single Holocaust perpetrator.
LaMelo left Lithuania soon after his arrival. Vast numbers of Lithuania’s youth have also left. The youth tend to leave Lithuania soon after completing their education. Lithuania is suffering a severe population decline; diminished by almost one third since the collapse of the Soviet Union. This is having a profound negative impact on long term business in Lithuania, resulting in a decline of their GDP.
The ideology of some elderly Lithuanians has remained antisemitic, xenophobic and homophobic. This nationalist element drives the Nazi adoration philosophy in Lithuania. It is my impression that the educated and the youth often do not uphold these antediluvian “values”. Emigration from Lithuania is often because they youth believe there is little positive future for them, as national change is unlikely.
According to this testimony, Lithuania’s national pride and joy, their basketball teams, have a repulsive inheritance. The legacy of murder will continue to befoul Lithuania until they tell the truth about the Holocaust and reach out with a sincere apology, and seek genuine reconciliation. True reconciliation can only be based on truth. Lithuania has not yet begun the process to tell it.
Lithuania has proven themselves untrustworthy to tell the truth about their own history. They must create a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” of non Lithuanian, legitimate historians to fully investigate testimonies such as Gar’s, and to tell the whole truth of who committed the murders in Lithuania, and how the Lithuanian Genocide Center, Government and Courts continues to cover up the crimes.
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