The Survivors of Communism Summit

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” – Winston Churchill

The Alexandria Tea Party sponsored “The Survivors of Communism Summit” on September 10, 2013. The theme was “100 Million Corpses in 100 Years – We Must Never Forget.” The packed Lyceum in Old Town Alexandria was spellbound by the stories of the luminaries who attended the event.

If you question the need for such a summit, consider the romanticized version of communism taught in American public schools and the recent fake petition drive to support Karl Marx for President in 2016 as the candidate for the Democrat Party. It was shocking to see how many people signed up after they were told that “President Obama had endorsed him.”

Congressman Jim Bridenstine of the First District in Oklahoma told the story of his first encounter with communism as a Navy pilot in South Korea, when taken to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) for a visit. He could see a beautiful city in the North and wondered why people said North Koreans were starving to death. The translator explained that the buildings were not real, they were built with no windows and doors, no inhabitants, just a propaganda display.

Ambassador H. E. Gyorgy Szapary of Hungary, spoke from his personal memory, recounting his experience with communism and stressing humanity’s “Legacy of Freedom.”

The keynote speaker was Dr. Lee Edwards, Chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, addressing the topic, “Is Communism Dead?” Dr. Edwards dedicated the Victims of Communism Memorial in 2007 and launched the online Global Museum on Communism in 2009.

Klara Sever, born in former Czechoslovakia, described “The Real Life of Julia,” her life under communism as a sculptor-restorer of baroque castles and editor and broadcaster at Slovak Radio, while taking part in the underground broadcasting during the Soviet occupation. The Life of Julia was the Democrat Party’s propaganda about a false narrative of the fictitious American woman, Julia, who could not have achieved anything without the help of government programs.

Klara said, “Realizing the hopelessness of life” under the communist occupiers, her family left for Austria and Paris where they obtained a visa for the U.S. The moment they landed in New York City in March 1969, they were free.

The most moving testimony of the evening came from Dr. Doan Viet Hoat, the recipient of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation Freedom Award in 2000. A prisoner of conscience, Dr. Doan Viet Hoat was arrested and imprisoned in 1976 without charges. Released 12 years later, he was rearrested in 1990 and sentenced to twenty more years of prison for publishing, writing, and editing ideas contrary to the communist ideology in Vietnam. On appeal, his sentence was reduced to 15 years. Having spent 27 years in various jails around Vietnam, Dr. Doan Viet Hoat never stopped writing and disseminating his work to the outside world with the help of other inmates who were sympathetic to the cause of freedom. Even in the direst of circumstances in jails in northern Vietnam, he was able to get help from hard-core criminals who made sure his work was distributed to the free world. During his brief freedom between the two jailings, 1988-1990, Dr. Doan Viet Hoat edited and published in Saigon an underground magazine, Freedom Forum, “to promote and exchange opinions on human rights and democracy.”

Andrew Eiva, born in a refugee camp in Bonn in 1948, recounted the life and stories of the Lithuanian resistance. His parents escaped Lithuania and fled to the U.S. in 1949. His grandfather, Gen. Kazimieras Ladyga, was not so lucky. He fought Russian revolutionaries at the end of World War I. He was chief of staff of the independent Lithuania from 1925-1927. The revolutionaries eventually won, arrested him, sent him to Siberia where he was tortured and died.

Specializing in guerrilla warfare support while in the U.S. Army in Germany with Special Forces, Eiva “dedicated himself to overthrowing the Soviet empire.”

“At the 1984 Republican Convention, Eiva was responsible for having language inserted into the party platform calling for support of the Afghan Mujahedin in their fight against the Soviets.”

Jaroslaw (Slavko) Martyniuk, the last speaker of the evening, a retired sociologist and self-described “public intellectual,” was born in the Ukraine. His family fled communism at the end of WWII and eventually moved to Chicago, Illinois. He described gulags in Siberia, the Soviet concentration camps for hard labor that were not really meant for re-education but for extermination.

The political dissidents sent there who worked underground in the gold mines had a survival rate of 2-4 weeks. He described the horrific and constant cold, the back-breaking labor on two rations of bread per day, the size of a person’s fist, and watery soup. The bitter cold, the unsafe working conditions, and the hard labor killed so many that the estimate of those buried in the permafrost is at least 3 million. Nobody could keep accurate count, he said, because records were constantly scrubbed. The worst of the re-education camps in the Arctic region was Kolyma, the place with two seasons, “12 months of winter and summer.”

Fluent in Ukrainian, French, Polish, Russian, and Belarusian, Martyniuk expressed his disappointment that Americans know so very little about gulags and the mass killings that occurred during the Bolshevik and Soviet purges. How could 25,000 Bolsheviks control 25 million people? They confiscated their guns first.

The Summit brochure mentioned the Laogai Museum which documents China’s prison camps, human rights violations such as executions, harvesting of organs from executed prisoners, the coercive “one child only” population control policy, internet censorship and surveillance, and all other atrocities committed by China’s communist regime.

Mentioned in the brochure is the anti-communist protest of the Damas de Blanco. The opposition movement in Cuba of the Ladies in White was formed two weeks after the arrest during the Black Spring of 2003 of 75 individuals charged with “acts against the independence or the territorial integrity of the state.” Ladies dressed in white, relatives of those arrested, gather on Sundays at St. Rita’s Church in Havana to pray for their husbands, brothers, uncles, cousins, nephews, and fathers. After each mass, the Ladies in White walk from the church to a nearby park. Each lady wears a lapel button with the photograph of the arrested loved one. In 2005, Palm Sunday, the communist government sent the Federation of Cuban Women to counter protest the Damas de Blanco. Occasionally insulted and assaulted, they’ve been left alone since Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino intervened on their behalf in 2010 and are allowed to protest outside of his church.

Canada will honor the victims of communism through a memorial which will be built near Parliament Hill. The group behind the project, Tribute to Liberty, will receive up to $1.5 million from the Canadian government to build a memorial on the lawn between the Library and Archives Building and the Supreme Court by 2014.

I stand with the millions of victims of communism, including my Dad, who disagreed with the communist party Marxist ideology and protested the confiscation of their homes, land, guns, personal possessions, and the loss of their God-given freedom. The victims objected to the lack of food, heat, water, proper medical care, medications, and a decent treatment as human beings.

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