Bush dedicates memorial to communism's victims
A statue modeled on the "Goddess of Democracy" paraded during the bloody Tiananmen Square protests 18 years ago was unveiled Tuesday as a memorial to victims of communism worldwide. The memorial, located near the Capitol Hill site of the US Congress, pays homage to the "more than 100 million people" who have died under communism since Russia's Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.
US President George W. Bush Tuesday likened the Cold War to today's struggle against terrorism at the unveiling of a new memorial that mourns the tens of millions killed under communism.
"And like the communists, the followers of violent Islamic radicalism are doomed to fail," said Bush, who has often compared Islamist extremists to Germany's Nazis or Soviet communists."By remaining steadfast in freedom's cause, we will ensure that a future American president does not have to stand in a place like this and dedicate a memorial to the millions killed by the radicals and extremists of the 21st century," he said.
The memorial near the US Congress resembles the papier-mache statue raised by pro-democracy demonstrators on Beijing's Tiananmen Square before they were massacred by Chinese troops in 1989.
Accusing the West of having a"moral blind spot" to communism, backers of the Washington tribute said:"We cannot allow the atrocities of Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Castro to fade into the background of history."
The non-profit Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation was created by an act of Congress in 1993 with the aim of emulating memorials to victims of Nazi totalitarian rule.
The foundation's honorary chairman is the first president George Bush, and its principal officers include conservative luminaries such as historian Lee Edwards and Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist."While the horrors of Nazism are well known, who knows that the Soviet Union murdered 20 million people? Who knows that China's dictators have slaughtered an estimated 60 million?" the foundation said."Yet, until now, our nation's capital had no monument to the victims of imperial communism, an ideology that took the lives of an estimated 100 million innocent men, women and children," Bush said."So it's fitting that we gather to remember those who perished at communism's hands, and dedicate this memorial that will enshrine their suffering and sacrifice in the conscience of the world."
The foundation's website recounts how Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin"destroyed hundreds of thousands of Cossacks" before his successor Joseph Stalin"starved more than six million in Ukraine."
Ukraine's government hopes that by the 75th anniversary of the 1932-33 famine in 2007-2008, the United Nations will recognize the disaster as a"genocide" against the Ukrainian nation.
Mao Zedong"murdered tens of millions of Chinese peasants during his 'land reforms'" while Ho Chi Minh"sent 850,000 Vietnamese to their graves in 'education camps'," the foundation said.
The ceremony was attended by nearly 1,000 people, organizers said, including members of the Czech and Hungarian parliaments, foreign ambassadors, and"survivors of communist oppression" like Chinese dissident Harry Wu.
Wu has said that Mao, in his"lunatic" zeal to re-fashion China,"killed just as many people as (Adolf) Hitler, maybe even more."
Along with World War II and Vietnam War memorials, Washington also has a national Holocaust museum dedicated to the approximately six million Jews murdered by Hitler's Nazis.
Conservative commentators say that history is not buried for those still living under communist rule."To even contemplate inscribing the names of the victims on a wall or a pillar is incomprehensible," Diana Furchtgott-Roth, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, wrote in an opinion piece last week."How much room should be left on such a monument for the future generations of victims in Cuba, North Korea and China, where communism still exists, or in Russia, where it has not completely been eradicated?"
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