Now Playing at Reason.tv: Remembering the Victims of Communism

Twenty years ago today, the Berlin Wall was breached and Soviet communism, at long last, entered its death spiral.

After claiming approximately 100 million victims in the 20th century, communism was dismissed to the ash heap of history. But those who suffered under its boot heel have largely been confined to the history books when not forgotten altogether.

Author and historian Lee Edwards set out to correct this oversight with the creation of the Victims of Communism memorial and online museum, dedicated to those who perished because of Communist regimes between 1917 and 1989.

Reason.tv spoke to Edwards about the importance of historical memory, plans for a forthcoming bricks-and-mortar museum in Washington, DC, and the paintings of Ukrainian gulag survivor Nikolai Gettman, currently on display at the Heritage Foundation, where Edwards is a "Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought."

Produced by Meredith Bragg and Michael C. Moynihan.

Interview by Moynihan. Shot and edited by Bragg. Approximately 4 minutes.

Click here for downloadable versions and embed code. Subscribe to Reason.tv's channel now.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Thank goodness all totalitarianism is long behind us.

  • goodness||

    You're welcome.

  • James Hudnall||

    I wish it were that simple. We're seeing a repeat.

    http://jameshudnall.com/blog/2.....the-walls/

  • ||

    So what are Obama and his ilk of COMMIE PARASITES?

  • ||

    All totalitarianism are behind us? I suggest you to look at Hugo Chavez, Iran or China. The stalinist regime in NK. Ever heard of them? What about that Mugabe?

  • ||

    You must be living in an ideal world, because you certainly are not living in my world. Totalitarianism thrives all around us. Look at Venezuela, Iran, North Korea, and China. If you don't consider those countries and many others following their examples totalitarian, I don't know what you consider totalitarian. Keep thinking that way and Obama's totalitarianism will descend upon us so quickly you will not be able to stop it. Those who forget their past are doomed to repeat it.

  • ||

    "After claiming approximately 100 million victims in the 20th century, communism was dismissed to the ash heap of history."

    Which calls into question the mindlessly repeated canard that more people have been killed in the name of religion than any other reason.

  • Warty||

    What would you call communism, if not a religion?

  • ||

    I don't disagree with you. The canard refers to organized religion's extremes (the Crusades, the Inguisition, 9/11 etc), and is usually trotted out by lefties to mock the simpletons, when it's the lefties who can't see, pace your comment, that their "faith" has produced far more death and suffering.

  • ||

    But the "lefties" are presumably also including the murderous genocidal record of Islam in the Middle East, Africa and India. In terms of wiping out other people's indigenous cultures both Christianity and Islam have pretty piss-poor records. Communism seems in retrospect more like a strange virus of cultural suicide. In the end, the Russians and the Chinese managed to do more damage to themselves in terms of deaths and destruction of cultural heritage than they ended up doing to outsiders (which was still considerable of course).

  • ||

    Murdered by outsiders or by one's own government doesn't seem like much of a difference if you're the one getting murdered.

  • Michael||

    If you haven't yet had the opportunity to confront a Marxist in conversation about Communism's death toll and witnessing their apologia yourself, I highly recommend it. There's really not much that is more deeply chilling.

  • ||

    That statement is incorrect, ""After claiming approximately 100 million victims in the 20th century, communism was dismissed to the ash heap of history." there has been way over 200,000,000 people murdered by communism and those people were for the most part citizens of the countries where they were murdered. China has murdered over 70,000,000 and one of the most terrible aspect of their murdering has been selling of the murdered's body parts. In just one Russian Gulag called Kolyama over 3,000,000 people were shot, frozen to death,worked to death, killed in hundred of ways and that was only one of 150 Gulag camps.

    Communism is known by many names other than murderer, some like Marxist, Leninist, Trotskyite, Socialist, much worse than any Nazi ever thought to be. We have Marxists in our Universities, in our media and in our Government now, we have deadly problems coming up. Communists are murderers.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Well, I guess I'll go ahead and post the link to The Soviet Story, which shows Soviet Russia's collusion with Nazi Germany in the Holocaust, and then documents the USSR's own mass murder.

    Ironically, it's playing on PBS stations across the country.

  • anon||

    I looked it up on Wikipedia, and who could have guessed it, but the NYT apparently doesn't take well to people criticizing their Red heroes.

    "The New York Times in its review of the documentary stated:

    The film is not dispassionate scholarship; Mr. Snore, who is Latvian, and his backers (including some members of the European Parliament) obviously have an agenda, though to the casual American viewer it may not be clear what it is."

  • ||

    Telling the truth about Communism's crimes is clearly an objectionable agenda in the age of Obama.

  • ||

    And yet the Economist gave it a great review. I wonder whom I trust more ...

  • anon||

    Looks like the only people who criticized the movie other than the NYT were people working for the Russian government or who wish for Latvia to stay close to Russia and opposed Latvian independence. I'm sure the NYT is glad to be in such good company.

  • ||

    I must say, I'm going to enjoy seeing the NYT go belly-up. There are a lot of pinkos there who would have to get real jobs.

    -jcr

  • ||

    The cooperation between the Soviets and the Nazis from 1939-1941 is well known and is not controversial.

  • ||

    According to a National Film Board of Canada propaganda piece from 1944 the USSR invaded Poland because the realized the German threat. BS I know.

    What gets me is people who talk about how Russia won world war two, as though Soviet tyranny is somehow better than Nazi tyranny. Tyranny is tyranny!!!

  • ||

    Brett,

    They invaded to regain the territory they lose to the Poles in 1921 when the Poles kicked the Soviet's in the ass. The Polish-Soviet war of the early 1920s was something that was banned for Polish school books during the entire era of Soviet dominance.

  • Zeb||

    To be fair, it does not say that the agenda of the film makers is objectionable. And I don't think that the film is intended to be dispassionate scholarship.

    I agree with most people here that the times is turning into a pile of shit, but reviewing a movie not entirely positively is not the same as saying "yay Stalin".

  • ||

    Walter Duranty who was the Moscow Bureau Chief for the New York Times in the 1930's concealed the Genocide of 10,000,000 Ukrainians, the killing by contrived starvation and execution lasted for years. Duranty won a Pulitzer Prize for his false reporting which the New York Times will not give back to the Pulitizer Committee even though the Ukeranian Government has asked them to do so many times.

    It is now thought by many the Walter Duranty was working for Stalin and that the New York Times had to have known about the Genocide. The cover up of for Communism has gone on for decades by our media. [google up additional information, walter duranty]

  • ||

    the NYT apparently doesn't take well to people criticizing their Red heroes.

    The NYT employed Walter Duranty to sing Stalin's praises. They've been a pack of commie rat bastards for many, many years.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Funny how the Chad, Leffiti, Edward and the rest of the house liberal trolls never show up on these threads.

  • ||

    plans for a forthcoming bricks-and-mortar museum in Washington, DC

    I'm guessing that will have to be a private museum. I doubt the leftists who currently control the federal government will OK an appropriation to build a museum in DC showing communists doing terrible things.

    And, it would be fraught with irony if a museum was built with money stolen from people by collectivists showing the horrors of giving that much power to collectivists.

  • mark||

    I propose that the museum be located in that monument of planning, Celebration, Florida, coincidentally located in freshman Rep. Alan Grayson's district. As a reminder.

  • BakedPenguin||

    In Riga, Latvia, there was a Communist-era museum dedicated to the Nazi occupation. After the fall of communism, it was converted to a museum about the Nazi and Communist occupations.

  • Warty||

    Presumably, the Soviet-era museum had exhibits about mass murders and disappearances. I wonder how many museum patrons got themselves shipped off to gulag for laughing.

  • ||

    Wow, its hard to believe that that much time has already passed. Can you imagine??

    Jess
    privacy-stuff.be.tc

  • The Gobbler||

    You fucked up the link. When you drug use interferes with work, it's time to consider treatment options.

  • Episiarch||

    Is it just me or does it seem fitting that Anonymity Douche's email account is an AOL account?

  • Warty||

    Eternal September, my old enemy.

  • z||

    Maybe the difference is the victims that liberals are concerned with were victimized because of race, whereas the victims of the communist regimes were dissidents, those that, by their own choice, stood in the way of the communist utopia.

  • ||

    The vast majority of the victims of Communism were not dissidents at all. The "average" victim of a Communist regime was a peasant simply dying of starvation - China in the 1950s/60s, the Soviet Union in the 1930s, North Korea in the 1990s. Most of the victims of Communism didn't even have the opportunity to face their persecutors or voice any discontent, they were simply treated as cogs in a vast human experiment and disposed of as unnecessary.

  • ed||

    History...forgetfulness...doom...repeat.

  • ||

    No one suffered under communism, and no one will suffer under my new platform, rolling out in 2011 after I suspend elections.

  • chubbs||

    Wonder when some enterprising person will do a documentary on the NYT's abject fealty toward the Stalinist regime, ala Duranty. The Times has been, is now, and will always be the the official apologist for Communist crimes.

  • ||

    Well, in the NYT's defense, it has in recent years been very critical of Duranty's work: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W.....tzer_Prize

  • ||

    communism did not begin its death spiral with the fall of the Berlin Wall. The fall of the Iron Curtain began in Poland on June 4, 1989 when Solidarity won 99 of 100 contested seats in the Polish Sejm.

  • ed||

    Medvedev just finished speaking at the Berlin festivities. He took full credit, on behalf of the USSR, for the fall of The Wall. Oddly, he didn't mention who was responsible for building and maintaining it for almost 30 years, or the millions in the Eastern Bloc who suffered and died under Soviet domination.

  • ||

    Too bad Joe Wilson was not at that speech. We need someone like Joe at every speech a lefty makes. Being rude is a small sacrifice to make to prevent the spread of tyranny.

  • ||

    convexhull,

    As I recall, the one seat that they did not win was due to some sort of technicality or some such.

  • Zeb||

    So, do people really believe that there are a lot of liberals out there who think that the USSR was a great idea? Most of the lefty sorts that I know seem to want some sort of European style semi-socialist welfare state. While the merits of such a system are quite debatable, it is really not comparable to totalitarian communism.

  • anon||

    I believe a lot of extremely left wing liberals think the USSR could have been a utopia if they only had the right people in charge.

  • Zeb||

    OK, I am sure you are right there. A lot of commenters here seem to think that the contemporary left is going to start agitating to have the Berlin wall put back up any day now.

  • mark||

    They only put up walls when people don't do what they want (remaining in slavery, in the case of East Germany). So, just wait a few years and I'm sure there will be plenty of walls.

  • ||

    a lot of extremely left wing liberals think the USSR could have been a utopia if they only had the right people in charge.

    Some of those idiots still think it was a utiopia, and that we're all just lying about it.

    -jcr

  • John Markley||

    I don't think any significant number of liberals actually want a Soviet-style state in this country, but they nevertheless often work very hard to downplay or excuse Communist crimes. It's similar to the way many white supremacists and anti-semites treat the Nazis- I don't think the average Holocaust denier wants to institute the same policies as the National Socialist regime, but it's still in their interest to defend the Nazis because they share a family resemblance with them.

  • ||

    they sure act that way about cuba

  • ||

    After claiming approximately 100 million victims in the 20th century, communism was dismissed to the ash heap of history. But those who suffered under its boot heel have largely been confined to the history books when not forgotten altogether.

    The victims were the result of the idea that the "Collective" somehow has more rights than the individuals, a favorite argument for people that are sociopathically suspicious of a free people.

  • Lee Reynolds||

    Communism has never been dismissed. Like a virulent disease, it simply altars its appearance and attacks once more.

    Communism, like all forms of evil, never really goes away. It may be beat back for a time, but it always regroups and re-emerges, usually in a different guise, but always with the same objective: the death of freedom and the enslavement of mankind.

    The only effective defense against this evil is eternal vigilance. The willingness to exterminate one's enemies comes in handy as well.

  • ||

    That's nonsense. "Communism" never existed in a vacuum. "Communism" or, more accurately, Marxism-Leninism was just disguised Russian imperialism, and then adopted by China. It appeared to be a useful ideology for holding back the tide of nationalism in aging imperial states. You're correct that the imperial drive to dominate one's neighbors will probably never go away, but next time it won't look like Soviet Communism, just as the USSR didn't look like the Ottoman Empire.

  • ||

    Ah, so the subordination of the individual (which by the way, did not occur to nearly the same extent under the czars) did not occur in Russia or China? So people were NOT treated as simply replaceable parts of the state, disposed of easily and removed if inconvenient?

    That "imperial drive" is the defining feature of Communism...except on an individual scale, not just on the intranational.

    The crushing of dissent, the centralization of the means of production, the wealth of the nation, and the ability to use force was not "disguised Russian Imperialism." It was the foul, disgusting ideology known as communism.

    It's your comment that's nonsense vanya.

  • abercrombie milano||

    After claiming approximately 100 million victims in the 20th century, communism was dismissed to the ash heap of history. But those who suffered under its boot heel have largely been confined to the history books when not forgotten altogether.

  • ||

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
    Victims of Communism; An American Concern
    New York City, NY USA
    July 8, 2011
    In today’s America, the Victims of Communism seem to have only
    sporadic attention, primarily from conservative groups and the refugees
    themselves. Without the American population at large getting interested, informed, and involved in condemning the atrocities of over one hundred million victims of the Communist Regimes over the past 94 years then there will neither be a proper recognition of those civilians’ deaths, nor a clear understanding and appreciation of what the rights and responsibilities the Constitution of the United States of America provides. In the long run, whether by violent or gradual overthrow, the risk of a Communist or Extreme Socialist government takeover is a real threat.
    This threat is voided by an informed and educated citizenry being prepared and acting in support of a government that is 'of the people, by the people and for the people'.
    In 2010 I wrote my Master’s thesis on this subject matter, which was published in 2011 under the title Victims of Communism and Their Persecutors (New Kindle Edition published by Jongleur Music Book Publishing.).
    As a political refugee myself, I have seen with my own eyes the
    Communist State's abuses, including the permanent scars on my father’s legs, left from his imprisonment in the Communist prisons of Romania.
    He was arrested, beaten, tortured and sentenced to 12 years in prison. This
    was because he helped provide food for some farm families that had been
    persecuted because they had opposed the stealing of their land and farm animals by the Communist State in the 1950s.
    After his release, he was given an “enemy of the State” label that followed him wherever he tried to seek work in Romania. He survived, and raised a family, with children who have called America home since the 1980’s. He kept telling me over the years that notwithstanding his ordeal, he was among the “lucky” ones, because he made it out alive; most of his colleagues didn’t.
    In the United States he, Dr. Teodor Gherasim, wrote two seminal books: Astride 2 Worlds and Ancient Dictators, Modern Tyrants, in which he exposed the danger of societies moving from middle-class based systems, to oligarchic societies that primarily benefit the power elite. In the latter case, whether called royals, Communist Party nomenclature, or corporations, it leaves the majority population in a state of virtual serfdom, while the elites lavish in tremendous luxury and power. With tremendous power, comes tremendous abuse, and this is why knowing about, condemning, and being vigilant about Communist atrocities, may help keep
    America free.
    Various attempts by the US government to condemn Communist crimes have been made throughout the years, from the 1950’s US support of Nationalist China, and standing by the West Germans’ when the Russians built the Berlin Wall (1) to the 2011 support of Vietnamese dissidents, including a church pastor and activists, who were summarily convicted in a 1 day trial and sentenced to up to 8 years in prison by the Communist State, for “attempting to overthrow” the Communist government. Their supposed crime was that they criticized the government’s abuse of power being directed against the civilian population.
    In the West, including in the United States, the violent destruction of the societies seems to have become a trivial thing. Endeared by Marxist activists and flirted with by corporations, politicians, and citizens alike, the killing of millions of farmers, workers, students, intellectuals and religious leaders (priests, pastors, imams, rabbis, and Buddhist monks) has become an incidental sidebar in the Departments of State and major news organizations around the world. Some have resorted to the cute label of “Communist chic” thereby hiding the insidious true nature of the danger behind an apparent innocent facade. For example, President Obama’s 2009 White House Christmas tree displayed an orb depicting the genocidal Chinese dictator Mao (3), London Fashion Week had models wore clothes (including panties) with the hammer and sickle emblem, as well as the likeness of Che Guevara. Tim Vincent of television’s Access Hollywood went on the air in 2006 sporting a hammer and sickle t-shirt.
    Meanwhile, in 2005, there was a big outcry when Prince Harry wore a Nazi uniform to a costume party and when a clothing chain in London inadvertently stocked a bag whose design included swastikas in 2009. The bag was quickly removed from the clothing chain's shelves. As a side-note, in all probability, the bag came from India, where the swastika (in its original shape, not the Nazi one, which is inverted), is an old and perfectly honorable symbol (4).
    Yet, in 2010, the same year Georgia took down Stalin’s statue in Grozni, a statue of Stalin was raised in Bedford Virginia, courtesy of the D-Day Memorial Foundation.
    Paradoxically, it is former Communist countries such as Romania, which seem to keep educating their populations and the world on the Communist atrocities, such as during the itinerant exhibitions to the United States offered by The Romanian Cultural Center of New-York on Communist crimes, or by seminars offered at the Bucharest based Institute for the Studies of Communist Crimes (5).
    In the United States, the Global Museum of Communism offers virtual information on the Communist crimes, easily accessible on internet.
    My book, Victims of Communism and Their Persecutors (7) attempts to
    analyze from a mediator's, facilitator's and negotiator's perspective, the Communist crimes, in terms of emotions, intentions, actions and reasons, with both the victims' and the perpetrators' testimony, of what is commonly called in Europe the Red Holocaust, with particular focus on Romania. It goes to the sources of inter-group conflicts, its cognitive factors, its implications for understanding and leads to some recommendations for compensatory resolutions. It does that by presenting an overview of several micro and macro-level approaches to understanding the origins, the nature and the dynamics of this conflict, as well as possible healing. It details several psychological, social, economical, political, systematic, and cultural perspectives that have led to and are still making innocent victims, from Cuba to China, in the name of Marxism and of the Communist Party.
    Without the condemnation of the Communist ideology and crimes, by the world at large, and without the inclusion of educational programs in schools all over the world on the true Communist power grab masked by a false concern for the welfare of the people, the world will continue to expose itself to the risk of new abuses based on similar criminal ideologies. C Communism has been propagating it's overthrow of liberty and democratic principles from the Marxism of the 1800s to the 2011 Chinese, Vietnamese, N. Korean or Cuban Communist States (8). With the American poetess Audre Lorde (1983), it is also the opinion of this writer that there is no hierarchy of oppression for the victims, and nor should there be one for those who analyze these crimes. Qualifying one tragedy as greater than the other (such as pitting the Nazi victims versus the Communist victims and vice-versa), will only serve perpetrators' propaganda and agenda, be they committed by left or right wing dictatorships, past, present, or future, according to the adage: “Divide et Impera” (Divide and Conquer).
    In all religions throughout the world, with the exception of satanic or suicidal cults, the sanctity of all human life is universally recognized and agreed upon. It is when false paradigms of economical, racial, ethnic, religious, military, geographical, gender or other social hierarchies are made, that some human beings decide that it is a proper recourse to eliminate some 'inferior' human beings for the betterment of society as a whole; ultimately for an elite group of 'superior' human beings.
    For those Americans who think that ignoring the victims of Communism and choosing to not condemn or to even trivialize the violent aims and methods of the Communist State, I refer you to the Georgia Stones, a 1979 project which exists today in the Elbert county, Georgia under the idyllic nickname of “Georgia Guide stones” that calls on authorities, among other criminal pursuits, to: “Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance (?!) with nature.” (thus killing the “excess population” and prohibiting individuals to reproduce outside these standards) (9).
    It is the intention of the author of the Victims of Communism and Their Persecutors, to inform its readers on the greatest unsolved problem of the 20th century and one of the most repugnant episodes in the history of mankind, and to call for conferences, exhibits, research, books, courses, and other activities that would bring light to this imperious need. This in turn will prepare the American population by making them acutely aware of their freedoms and make them ready to get involved in preventing the dictatorships that may attempt to rise up in the
    United States of America.
    Contact:
    Author: Gabriel Gherasim
    Publisher: Gary Revel
    Jongleur Music Book Publishing
    www.jongleur.us
    info@jongleur.us
    References:
    1.http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?
    q=cache:_ZE3WekdCm8J:news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/decemb
    er/2/newsid_3205000/3205423.stm+us+department+condemns+communist+
    crimes&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&source=www.google.com
    2. http://article.wn.com/view/201.....onviction_
    of_7_Vietnamese_activists_j/

  • nike shox||

    is good

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