- The Washington Times - Friday, December 14, 2001

Archvillain Osama bin Laden's deeds are monstrous, but they hardly compare with those of Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin and Mao Tse-tung.
Such was the message at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation's dinner Tuesday night, when for a few hours, America's current scourge was shoved to the back burner to help raise money for a major project the construction of a memorial and museum in Washington to commemorate the more than 100 million people who died under communist oppression in the 20th century.
The museum needs $100 million in donations ("one dollar for each life lost to communist tyranny," a foundation brochure explains).
Although one guest was heard to joke, "It was nice to get back to communism as a subject," the evening had a somber message: New wars may begin, but the Cold War continues. Although our new enemy's cruelty may seem horrific, it hardly compares with the massive violence, executions and death by planned starvation directed by the regimes in China, the Soviet Union, North Korea and Cambodia, participants said.
"The death toll from September 11 was appalling," Radio Free Europe's Paul Goble pointed out, "but in the last 80 years, communist regimes killed an average of 3,000 people every day."
The foundation's Truman-Reagan Freedom Awards named after "the two American presidents who most fully represent America's successful leadership during the Cold War" went to Sen. Jesse Helms, a foe of communism throughout his 29-year congressional career, and Russian dissident and human rights activist Vladimir Bukovsky, who spent years in Soviet prisons, labor camps and psychiatric hospitals.
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Bukovsky stressed the importance of continually standing guard against communistic threats. "We did not finish the job. We did not win the Cold War. Those who are in power [in Russia], are all former KGB officials," he said.
The strangest thing of all, he added, is that "nobody is alarmed in the West."
Present company excluded, of course.
Despite the events in the Middle East, about 270 supporters paid $150 and more to attend the dinner at the JW Marriott Hotel, including Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser and the evening's principal speaker, and a number of ambassadors representing nations once under the communist yoke (Cambodia's Roland Eng, Poland's Przemyslaw Grudzinski, Bulgaria's Philip Dimitrov and the Slovak Republic's Martin Butora).
Another guest, former Albanian President Sali Barisha, was heard to bemoan his country's rampant corruption and the return of former communists to power.
Foundation President Lee Edwards said the future Victims of Communism Memorial Museum, approved by Congress in 1993, will be modeled on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Exhibits will remember the victims and heroes of the Cold War and ensure that people will "never forget." Organizers are considering two downtown sites the current D.C. Convention Center and the Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue NW. "Our target is to groundbreak in November 2007," Mr. Edwards explained, "the 90th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution."
This month also marks the 10th anniversary of the nominal end of the Soviet Union, a commemoration that gives cold comfort to those who fear America has yet to reckon with communism's ghosts.
The honorees warned the crowd not to be fooled.
"I hear so many references to the 'fall of communism,'" Mr. Helms told guests, "but don't you believe it."
"Bin Laden will be dead and buried," Mr. Bukovsky predicted, "and you will still be dealing with the consequences of communism."

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide