If I could give my own speech during the VOCM Workshop to the students about Victims of Communism, here is what I would say:
To all of you students who were born in the United States of America, Congratulations on winning the birth lottery! And if you don’t know that, or don’t believe it, shame on your parents and/or educators for not teaching you that. As you can see with your own eyes on the news every day, millions of illegal immigrants are streaming over our southern border every year, more so since President Biden opened the border to them. These millions of undocumented people literally risk life and limb, and even sell themselves into future slavery within America, to get here. Many walk a thousand miles or more through incredibly inhospitable territory, encountering robbers and rapists and other villains along the way, and then they get to pay the Mexican drug cartels to ferry them across the border to the tune of $5,000 to $10,000 per person, even for small children.
Why would a Venezuelan, Colombian, or Honduran citizen do that? Is it just to gain better schooling and free social services? Yes, many people do come for those benefits. But I submit to you that it’s because of three basic words or ideals: freedom, opportunity, and most of all, hope. Hope, especially for a better life for their kids.
What does this have to do with Communism, you might ask. Well, Venezuela is a prime example of everything wrong with Communism: deprivation and suffering for everyone. Among the Central American countries and Mexico, their governments are mostly socialist, which is just a milder, less violent form of Communism, which means the people largely lack viable jobs, high quality secondary or tertiary education, or vocational training in order to find a job. In other words, they lack the opportunity to adequately support their families. So, they feel driven to seek that opportunity: the freedom to make their own way and seek honest work that can lead them up the economic ladder. Are those theoretical possibilities enough to propel them to face untold hardships and illegally cross borders to reach the United States? I think not; I think what burns in the hearts of these seekers is the HOPE that they will find the freedom to realize their dreams. The freedom that America represents contrasts sharply with the despair and cynicism that Communism represents.
Here are some facts.
Did you know that:
- Since Communist rule first began in Russia in 1917, somewhere around 200 million people have been tortured and killed by their own Communist governments around the globe?
- More than half of those deaths have been in China alone?
- North Koreans are five inches shorter on average than their South Korean cousins – due to chronic malnutrition?
- The average Venezuelan adult has lost 20 pounds in the past couple of years, for the same reason?
- Joseph Stalin’s forced Collectivization program in Ukraine, Belarus and Eastern Russia in the early 1930s caused at least 17 million deaths, mostly from forced starvation? To this day, Ukrainians refer to that time as the Hunger Genocide, and some parents were forced to cannibalize their dead children to keep the others alive?
- Some five million North Koreans starved to death in the late 1990s from drought and badly managed agricultural policies?
- Then on December 25, 2017, the BBC reported that the North Korean Government had just published an official cookbook for its citizens instructing them how to safely cook grass and tree bark to eat? And that starvation in the DPRK has gotten dramatically worse since then, while the Communist state continues to pour its limited resources into developing nuclear warheads and long-range missiles?
- The true enemy of Communism isn’t necessarily Western capitalist democracies, but God? God by any name, but most especially the Christian God and His Son Jesus Christ? That to this day, professing faith in Jesus Christ is still a death sentence in China, North Korea, Iran, and a few other Muslim and Southeast Asian countries?
- Under Romanian Communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, roughly one in every three adults was forced by the Secret Police to inform on their friends, families, and neighbors? Usually by threatening the life or wellbeing of their family members? Try to imagine how staggering that number is.
- When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, reports were smuggled out of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine in the following years about young men inhaling crushed glass so that their induction x-rays would make their lungs appear as though affected by tuberculosis to avoid being sent to Afghanistan? Or that other young men paid surgeons to cut open their abdomens and sew them back up so they could claim their appendix, or some other organ had just been removed in order to avoid military service? Or that Afghan family members would rather let their wounded men die than be given Russian blood transfusions in Afghan hospitals where the wounded were co-mingled?
- To this day in China, millions of Christians, Muslim Uighurs, and Falun Gong practitioners are continuously rounded up and thrown into prisons where they are routinely tortured as well as forced to sit on tiny stools and listen to “re-education” messages blared at them over loudspeakers for some 10 hours every day? Or that some of the young, healthy prisoners are killed so that their organs can be harvested and sold to Westerners? Or that some of these young people’s organs are harvested while they are still alive?
- In Cambodia, where in five years, Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime killed over one third of the population, some of the first to be killed were people wearing glasses because they were presumed to be literate, and thus intellectuals?
- The clearest sentence Vladimir Putin ever uttered to explain his world view was in this 2005 speech: “The demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the [20th] century.” Compared with the roughly 100 million killed around the globe in World Wars One and Two, or the 150 million or so Chinese killed by Mao Zedong, this is a staggering statement about what constitutes tragedy. The fact that the East European Warsaw Pact countries and 14 other former Soviet Republics gained their freedom from Russian domination can only be considered a “tragedy” for Russians, like Putin.
- In the Soviet era, the one always available form of birth control was abortion, so that the average Russian or Latvian or Ukrainian woman had an average of seven abortions in her lifetime because the average communal apartment only provided enough room for one child?
- Likewise with China’s decades-long One Child Policy, perhaps as many as 400 million babies were forced to be aborted?
The reason I wish to draw these not-fun facts to your attention is so that you can see for yourselves the contrast between the sheer cruelty of Communist rule and the value that the United States Declaration of Independence and Constitution placed on the individual’s rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”