Thursday marked the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad. In 1999, the rock band Fur Balloon wrote an anti-war song about this terrible attack.
The singer Manuel Seidl, was at that time as a civilian servant in the old people's home in Traun. He had to take care of an old man who claimed to have fought in the battle of Stalingrad. When Manuel was washing the old man, he saw the typical SS tattoo on his upper arm. The old man made fun of Manuel and insulted him because he was not in the Austrian army, but was doing community service and had long hair.
The old man told Manuel about the war in Stalingrad and also about the hunger they suffered. That's where the first words of the song come from: "Five bullets in his hand, survival in his brain" - "His gun is trained on an enemy's head, not to win the fight, just to earn his bread." The old man told that they had few bullets and nothing to eat. The man sat in a wheelchair and pretended to sit in a tank.
It was the first album with Fur Balloon (Manuel and Boris Seidl, German Schwarz, Dominik Hofer and Christian Cermak) that we recorded as a rock band at that time. Every Austrian is intensely familiar with the dark past of the World Wars in school and family. Besides, the Leningrad Cowboys were musicians in 1999. Cowboys was just the right comparison for those soldiers.
Today Russia celebrates the defense of Stalingrad (today's Volgograd) and thus indirectly the end of the Second World War. At that time, the German armies were not fighting toward Moscow, but invaded Volgograd to capture important raw materials and energy in the Caucasus.
Today, 80 years later, history seems to repeat itself. Many countries are supplying weapons and supporting the war. It is hard to believe, but many are already talking about the beginning of a new world war. Have we learned nothing from the past?
"To fight for the leader's fame." No we won't!
These times are very disturbing. Every war is to be condemned, rearmament and more weapons have never brought peace in history. You can't fight fire with fire, says another Fur Balloon song 'Misled Crowed'.
How nice it would be if once again a peace fighter like Mahadma Ghandi could come and show us how to solve conflicts and fight injustice.