Join Date: July 2005
Memorial to the Victims...
This may seem like an off-topic post, but actually, it's not.
Last week, a monument called the "Memorial to the Victims of Communism" was unveiled in Washington DC. History has never known a more inhuman and sinister ideology than communism, and now, finally, the downfall of this pernicious ideology -- a downfall that is surely the greatest liberation of the 20th century -- is getting some recognition.
There were two very fine editorials about this new memorial and what it represents, one in the Wall Street Journal,
the other in the Washington Times.
Here's an excerpt from the first:
Considering the enormity of what it commemorates, the Memorial to the Victims of Communism, dedicated by President Bush yesterday, is striking for its modest proportions: a 10-foot female figure raising a torch at a busy intersection in Washington, D.C. That's a fitting rebuke to an ideology that made a fetish of statuary, and murder, on a monumental scale.
The numbers are almost beyond reckoning. Mao Zedong was responsible for 70 million peacetime murders, according to his biographer Jung Chang. The middle estimate of Stalin's victims is 40 million. Pol Pot slaughtered nearly three million fellow Cambodians in only four years. Ethiopia's Mengistu killed some 1.5 million opponents in the late 1970s, and contributed to the death by starvation of a million others in the 1980s.
Throughout these and other horrors, Communists always managed to find high-profile apologists among the bourgeois intellectuals: Jean-Paul Sartre for Stalin, Noam Chomsky for Pol Pot, and so on. Some, like Sidney Hook, Arthur Koestler and Whittaker Chambers, repented, but most did not. They may not have been witting accomplices to the butchery, quite. But they are the reason why the West was almost fatally late in recognizing the depth of evil it faced in its communist enemy...
and here's an excerpt from the second:
...The brutality of communism was quickly swept under history's rug, largely because so many on the left had embraced it as the solution to humankind's problems. The memorial stands as a rebuke to such twisted thinking.
"The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression" by Stephane Courtois, Nicolas Werth, Jean-Louis Panne, Andrzej Paczkowski, Karel Bartosek and Jean-Louis Margolin lists by country the number of people murdered under communist regimes: 65 million (and counting) in China; 20 million in the Soviet Union, 2 million (and counting) in North Korea, 2 million in Cambodia, 1.7 million in Africa, 1.5 million in Afghanistan, 1 million in Vietnam, 1 million in communist Eastern Europe and 150,000 in Latin America.
In short, communism, an evil ideology unlike any the world has seen, is responsible for the slaughter of more than 94 million human beings. It tops all plagues, natural disasters, crime and other political ideologies, probably combined...
...few remember Soviet death camps named Kolyma and Magadan. True, Alexander Solzhenitsyn mentioned them in "The Gulag Archipelago" as did Varlam Sjalamov in "Tales from Kolyma," but as the late Swedish journalist Andres Kung wrote, "There are people who have still not heard of these communist extermination camps -- even though the communists preceded the Nazis in creating such camps and killed an even larger number of people in their camps."
While the memorial is a welcome reminder of man's capacity to do evil, one wishes a similar structure were erected to remind the world of leftist academics, clergy and journalists who enabled communism to survive by writing and speaking lies about its true nature. They were more than enablers. They were co-conspirators and accessories to murder. They, too, deserve to share in communism's ignominy.
The connection to the subject of this forum is clear, because one of the unrecognized (yet most tragic) victims of communism, in addition to these innumerable human deaths, was the Beauty Ideal of the West -- the worship of timeless beauty (most notably, full-figured feminine beauty) that dawned with ancient Greece, and died at the hands of the leftist academics noted above.
It was the takeover of Western aesthetic discourse by communism and its related ideologies (particularly feminism) in the early 1900s that led directly to the suppression of timeless beauty in the arts and in society, and created the inhuman, beauty-hating aesthetics of guilt, the aesthetics of resentment, that we are still in the grip of, today.
All of the women who have grown up with warped body image, and with the inability to recongize their natural feminine beauty -- they too are the Victims of Communism (and some are even among its fatalities). This newly-unveiled Memorial is a tribute to them as well.