I live in a small village near the Austrian border in northwestern Hungary. I have described the village as 'nondescript' on many occasions on this blog. To some degree, the description is apt - there is inherently nothing all that special about the place I call home. Nevertheless, a photo a neighbor posted online the other day has made me pause and reflect upon my initial assessment of this little settlement. Seems it is a bit more 'descript' than I originally assumed.
I have mixed feelings about memorial days commemorating the victims of past atrocities. On the one hand, I am inclined toward these commemorations because they offer an opportunity to honor and dignify victims. They also have the potential to serve as warnings against the development similar atrocities in the future. On the other hand, memorial days also serve to exacerbate the already overinflated zeitgeist of victimhood saturating our world. We live in an age where almost anyone can claim to a victim of someone or something (with a few very clear, distinct, and notable exceptions, of course). The System likes memorial days and likes to promulgate the victim narrative, which it actively promotes, primarily for political purposes, in various guises around the world.
For example, the United Nations has initiated and observes many such memorials, which it terms International Days. UN has designated International Days of Commemoration for the following: International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade; International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims; International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust; International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime; and so forth. There are also international days to commemorate the victims of the Second World War, chemical warfare, road traffic victims, enforced disappearances, terrorism, torture, and the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
The UN is apparently very compassionate when it comes to victims of atrocities, so you would think it would have designated an International Day commemorating the victims of the most effective political killing machine ever devised – communism, which is estimated to have killed anywhere from 80 to 120 million people (maybe more).
Well, it hasn’t.
Three decades after the collapse of communism in Europe, the glaring omission is finally being brought to UN’s attention by Hungary, which is currently pressing the UN to designate an International Day for the Commemoration of the Victims of Communism.
Before I go any further, let me just say I don’t have anything positive to say about the UN, and I generally don’t give a rat’s ass about its officially sanctioned International Days, regardless of the victims these days commemorate (that is I feel compassion for the victims of these atrocities, but not within the framework of an official UN designated day commemorating them). In addition, I don’t care much for Hungary’s initiative, and I don’t think an official international day commemorating the victims of communism is a good idea at this point. In fact, I think it would be better if the UN refused Hungary’s initiative because at least then the water would not be muddied with conflicting messages.
The UN’s refusal to designate a memorial day for the victims of communism is not an oversight, or an omission, or even willful neglect – it is purposive evil. The UN does not regard victims of communism as victims. To the UN, the people communism murdered were more like eggs – eggs the communists simply had to break in order to create a much revered utopian omelet.
The UN is favorably disposed to utopian omelets; in fact, it is heavily involved trying to create one right now through its continual promotion of a one-world totalitarian government. This push to enslave the world appears to be growing increasingly desperate with each passing day (as Dr. Charlton points out in this recent post). I am sure the UN hasn’t the slightest interest in designating a day of commemoration for the victims of communism: Partly because this would betray its own motivations; and partly because it is far too busy with other things at the moment.
So forget about an international day for victims of communism and keep your eyes focused on what is happening in the world right now because omelets require eggs.
There are some encouraging signs in the Hungarian government's massive programs to promote marriage and childbirth in an effort to halt the demographic decline in this small, landlocked nation. According the Central Statistics Office, marriages are up 20% in Hungary in the first nine months of this year. Certainly encouraging if the statistics are accurate. Sadly, the birth rate has gone nowhere within the same time frame. So the big question now is, will this surge in marriages lead to a higher birthrate in the short-to-mid term?
Well, that all depends. As I have mentioned before on this blog, the communist regime launched similar schemes in the mid-1970's. These programs caused a spike in birthrates for three or four years before the rates dropped to even lower levels. The communists learned the hard way that material incentives are simply not enough. Orbán's initiatives, though admirable and noble, will mean and do very little in the short-to-mid term if it is not supported by the right kind of motivation, that is by a spiritual awakening or, in some cases, spiritual deepening among the newly married couples.
If the newlyweds approach their marriages and (hopefully) children from a spiritual perspective, then the efforts the Hungarian government is currently expending stand a chance. If, however, the vast majority of these newly married couples are motivated to marry and have children for purely materialistic (economic) reasons, then Orbán's programs will end up exactly where the communist programs ended up - in failure.
For those interested, link to the article describing these developments is here.
When I was still in university back in Canada, I enrolled in a course called "Literature in Crisis", which was led by Professor Barry Callaghan who is the son of novelist Morley Callaghan. The course focused primarily on the Holocaust and the Gulags. Being an unorthodox and hospitable man, Barry chose to instruct the course in the living room of his Rosedale home where he graciously served us wine and snacks while we discussed books such as Kolyma Tales; This Way For the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen; and The Gulag Archipelago. Barry was a perceptive and insightful instructor, and it was through him that I began to engage with Solzhenitsyn, who remains one of my favorite writers to this day.
Anyway, to get to the point of this post - I once heard Barry utter a quote from Solzhenitsyn that went something like this - "Western literature is about careers; Russian literature is about good and evil." The quote stuck in my mind, but I have never been able to find its source. The short video below features Barry speaking the quote for those interested.
Does anyone out there know which Solzhenitsyn work, speech, or interview contains the quote above? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
These days I spend most of my free time revising my novel, which I hope to republish in the next three weeks or so (yeah, fat chance). Unfortunately, the revisions consume a great deal of time, time that I am borrowing from other pursuits such as this blog.
Before I began this revision project, I was tempted to put the blog on pause, but I resisted the urge. I have learned that daily (okay, almost daily; cut me some slack) blogging is very much like training for a sport – take a few weeks off or months off and you are bound to lose some of the gains you have made. Take several months off and it’s like starting from ground zero all over again.
In light of this, I made the decision to continue blogging while working on my book revisions. Granted, the quality and quantity of my posts in the past month have not been stellar (as frequent readers have no doubt noticed), but I do get some comfort from maintaining the blog all the same.
It goes without saying that I apply what I have said strictly to myself. Other bloggers may find it more beneficial to rest a blog and dedicate their time exclusively to another project. I personally have no objection to this approach for it obviously has its advantages. In fact, there have been times when I was motivated to hit the pause button in the past few weeks. Goodness knows it would simply things. The problem is, I know my bad side a little too well. If I put the blog on hiatus for a few weeks, I might never return to it after I finish revising the book.
And what would I do then? Watch television? Crochet? Go on a paleo diet? Read Fifty Shades of Grey? Actually do something at my job?
Best to keep blogging . . .
Blog and Comments
Blog posts tend to be spontaneous, unpolished, first draft entries ranging from the insightful and periodically profound to the poorly-argued and occasionally disparaging.
Comments are moderated. Anonymous comments are never published (please use your name or a pseudonym). Emails welcome:
f er en c ber g er (at) h ot m ail (dot) co m
Blogs/Sites I Read
Bruce Charlton's Notions
Meeting the Masters
From The Narrow Desert
Twisting the Tail of the Cosmos
Deep Britain and Ireland