Saturday, June 18, 2016

Victims of Communism: 100 Million Killed and Counting

"To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.” - Elie Wiesel, Night

Wreath laying ceremony at Victims of Communism Monument in Washington DC
Great crimes against humanity must not be forgotten and new generations must learn what happened in order that they not be repeated. Communism in the 20th century claimed over 100 million lives and unfortunately the body count continues to rise in the 21st Century. Although communism imploded in Eastern Europe in 1989 the number of people living under it in the world today is one in five and that is a greater percentage than lived under communism before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the opening up of the archives there and elsewhere it was revealed that the crimes of communism had caused the deaths of 100 million human beings and counting where it is still being applied around the world. One cannot forget that beyond the body count there was also spiritual wreckage generated from regimes that required friends and family members to spy on each other and betray each other for the sake of the totalitarian state.

Last week on June 9th and June 10th the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation for the ninth year gathered victims of communism from around the world to remember all the past victims and the ongoing crimes of communism in Washington DC. On June 9th there were two panel discussions one that focused on witness accounts of communism in Cuba and another on educating Americans about the history of communist regimes.

The panel on Cuba provided an overview of the past six decades of repression and death by the Castro regime, the current situation in Cuba under the Obama administration's new Cuba policy, and the first hand testimony of one of its victims, Sirley Ávila León, now in the United States receiving medical care for her injuries.

On June 10th there was a Roll Call of Nations Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Victims of Communism Memorial located on (Corner of Massachusetts Ave and New Jersey Ave NW, Washington, DC). 20 embassies participated in the wreath laying ceremony along with 30 non-governmental organizations who with flowers came together to pray and pay their respects for the 100 million plus victims of communism and those who still live under the totalitarian darkness.

Former prisoner of conscience Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet addressed the gathering at the memorial and spoke of the communist terror that still exists in Cuba today. The presentation of the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom was realized there and the 2016 laureate, Paul A. Goble, gave an important talk on the ten reasons why we must remain anti-communists.

President Obama in Cuba photographed with mass murderer in the background
It is of great importance to remember the horrific crimes of communism such as what these regimes did to children;  the genocides they carried out in Africa, Asia, and Europe.  Attention needs to be paid to the communist ideas that resulted in so much horror and loss of life. For example, Ernesto "Che" Guevara, who President Obama felt comfortable being photographed with the Argentine communist revolutionary's image in the background, despite Guevara's calls to mass murder in Havana, Cuba on April 16, 1967:
"Hatred as an element of the struggle; a relentless hatred of the enemy, impelling us over and beyond the natural limitations that man is heir to and transforming him into an effective, violent, selective and cold killing machine. Our soldiers must be thus; a people without hatred cannot vanquish a brutal enemy."
The failure to address the legacy of communism and its continuing threat with seriousness is without a doubt a contributing factor to the decade long decline in human rights in the world. Furthermore failing to remember the international consensus achieved in 1948 when all the countries in the world signed on to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and engaging in relativism, as President Obama did in Cuba earlier this year, reopens a debate on the universality of rights that had been settled.

Forgetting the role played by international business in strengthening totalitarian regimes has resulted in the practice being repeated in China, Vietnam and Cuba prolonging the lives of those communist regimes to the detriment of their respective peoples. Not to mention the seizure of investor assets, the arbitrary detention of investors, and the theft of trade secrets.

This is why in 2017, the hundredth anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution that brought the first communist regime into power and the tenth anniversary of the Victims of Communism Monument's dedication on June 12, 2007 needs to be truthfully remembered.

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