3 Reasons We Must Remember Communist Crimes
Previously, I discussed the neglect of communist atrocities. Although communist governments murdered and repressed even more people than the Nazis, their crimes have gotten only a tiny fraction of the public awareness and recognition extend to the latter.
But does that neglect matter? After all, the major communist regimes have either collapsed (the USSR and its Eastern European satellites) or evolved into much less oppressive forms (China and Vietnam).
But there are several reasons why increasing recognition of communist crimes should be an important priority: providing justice for victims and perpetrators; alleviating the oppression of the unreformed communist governments that still exist today; and ensuring that comparable atrocities are never repeated.
I. Justice for Victims and Perpetrators
Millions of victims of communism are still alive today. They include former Gulag inmates, forced laborers, dissidents subjected to political repression, ethnic minorities such as the Crimean Tatars who were forcibly deported, and many others. With a few exceptions (principally in Eastern Europe), little has been done to recognize the suffering of these victims or to compensate them for the wrongs they suffered.
Obviously, the scale of communist crimes was so vast that complete compensation is impossible. However, the impossibility of perfect compensation is no excuse for doing nothing. After all, the same can be said for the Holocaust and other Nazi crimes. Yet extensive efforts have been made to compensate Holocaust survivors and return property confiscated from Jewish and other Nazi victims. The German government has paid reparations to Holocaust survivors and former forced laborers, among others.
These efforts at reparations for Nazi crimes surely have many shortcomings. But they far outstrip anything that has been done for the even more numerous victims of communism.
II. Focusing Attention on Oppression in the Remaining Unreformed Communist Governments
Most of the world’s communist regimes have either collapsed or reformed. However, at least two unreformed communist governments still remain: Cuba and North Korea. North Korea, in particular, is probably the world’s most oppressive regime, having starved to death at least 1 million of its own people as recently as the 1990s. It also maintains a system of Gulags and secret police that is, if anything, even more draconian than that of the USSR under Stalin.
Despite the good press it enjoys among some Western leftists, Castro’s Cuba is only modestly better. Since coming to power in 1959, Castro’s government has executed some 1.5% of Cuba’s population for “political” dissent, while incarcerating another 5.6% in concentration camps. These figures would be even higher if not for the proximity of the United States, which enabled a large part of Cuba’s population to flee. Nonlethal political repression in Cuba is less severe than in North Korea, but still worse than in all but a tiny handful of other governments.
Despite these atrocities, Cuba and North Korea receive only a tiny fraction of the attention that human rights groups and the international community pay to much lesser offenses committed by democratic governments or non-leftist dictatorships.
Read it all HERE.