The Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC) represents one million Americans of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian heritage.
After we first heard in August about Walmart and other major online retailers selling t-shirts with Soviet symbols online, we believed that this was an error that would be marked quickly by the retailers and pulled as contrary to their standards and policies.
However, there is no answer or action from Walmart, Amazon or eBay. The silence is profoundly deafening. It is also terrible to see that the companies are promoting and profiting from symbols of regimes responsible for so much terror and destruction.
We ask that these offensive products be removed and discontinued immediately.
Along with many other nationalities, Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians who were forced to flee their homelands from the Soviets and Nazis know the meaning and the cost of the symbols of those ideologies. It meant occupation and deportation, devastation and despair, mass murder and mayhem. In all, tens of millions were killed by the regimes of Stalin and Hitler.
As with Nazi symbols, Soviet symbols deserve no warm nostalgia or spot on the store shelves of U.S. retailers. The U.S. fought and shed much blood in the 20th century fighting against those two ideologies.
Guidelines posted on Walmart’s website prohibit the sale of products related to “any historical or news event” that could be considered offensive.
It is truly offensive. There is nothing to gain by supporting the sale of the symbol of the Soviet state. This insults the memory of the millions of victims.
We ask that all those concerned contact Walmart and the other retailers to also weigh in on this.
JBANC represents the Estonian American National Council, Inc., the American Latvian Association, Inc., and the Lithuanian American Council, Inc.