A group called Tribute to Liberty (that has the support of most ethnic communities who have fled to Canada to get away from the ravages of communism) seeks to set up a memorial in Ottawa to commemorate the 100 million people who have been purposely killed by communist governments around the world. The various Holocaust museums in world capitals are clearly their model. While Prime Minister Stephen Harper “strongly supports” such this monument, apparently a majority of the members of the National Capital Commission (NCC), which oversees such things, is a little less enthusiastic.
According to the National Post, this is what the NCC members felt:
At a public meeting last week in Ottawa, members of the NCC's board approved the plans for a monument "in principle," allowing that the submitted application for the memorial "largely meets" the commission's criteria for a public exhibit on capital land. But several members expressed concern the name was too provocative, and should be revised to eliminate any mention of communism.
"I was unsettled by this name, and other members of the committee agreed with me," Hélène Grand-Maître, one commission member, said at the public approval hearing. "We should make sure that we are politically correct in this designation.... I feel this name should be changed."
Board member Adel Ayad noted that people who identify as communists might "not like" the memorial. "It's not communism itself that we should be fighting here. It is rather totalitarianism we are against in any form."
One commissioner questioned whether Canadians could even legitimately point fingers at the brutality of Stalin or Pol Pot, given that our own federal government had put Japanese-Canadians in internment camps during the Second World War.
Perhaps, suggested another, the best route would be to be avoid specifics, strike "communism" from the proposed name altogether, and dedicate the memorial to "victims of oppressive regimes," so as not to single any particular ideologies out.
What kind of idiot reasoning is this? The point of this monument is not to bring shame to totalitarianism in “any form”, but to shine the light of day on one specific, prevalent and malevolent form – communism. And if “people who identify as communists might "not like" the memorial”, well isn’t that the whole point of the thing?
The reason we constantly remind ourselves of the Holocaust is not to constantly dredge up the past and be a downer at trendy cocktail parties, but to make damn sure that things like this don’t ever happen again.
And how do we do that?
In a society where the freedom of thought is one of the deepest founding principles, we can’t do it by locking people up simply because they have expressed sympathies for National Socialism or communism. In a free society, we are constrained to use reason and argument. One such way is to employ shame. One reason we don’t have any out-of-the-closet National Socialists in our universities, media outlets and governments is because if any are there, they are too ashamed of themselves to publicly acknowledge what they really think. Everybody knows about the Holocaust and how millions of people were murdered in death factories like Auschwitz. Who wants to be associated with that?
The problem with communism is that shockingly few people understand the scope and breadth of communist atrocities. I do, but only because I am Estonian and my homeland was under Soviet occupation for 47 years. But many Canadians do not, and that’s the problem. That’s why a comment like the one above equating Pol Pot’s Cambodia to Canada’s treatment of Japanese Canadians can be uttered with nary an eyebrow raised. Aside from being a gross insult of Canada, most Canadians simply do not understand the scope of the comparison. Pol Pot deliberately killed up to one third of his own people in a couple of years. Try and visualize what that must have been like! If most of the people in that room had been able to, they would have looked at Adel Ayad and yelled, WTF?!?
But they don’t, because they don’t know, not really. And that’s the problem. While we mercifully lack National Socialists in our intelligentsia, we do have plenty of out-and-out communists, marxists, trotskyists and useful idiots in Che T-shits. To see why this is a problem consider the fact that before the Cambodian Killing Fields became known, Pol Pot was somewhat of a radical chic figure in academia, so much so that I have read reports indicating that early on in Pol Pot’s career, he had been advised by academics and grad students from MIT.
And these people aren’t ashamed of themselves! Well, not yet anyway. If some communist sympathizers amongst our elite end up feeling uncomfortable with the presence of this monument, then that is not an unfortunately byproduct, but the intended result.