Actually, before we get on to what is happening tomorrow, I had better assure those readers who find my presence on the blog tiresome that I have not left it. Just a temporary hitch in time and motion. Sorry, guys, but Cruella is back.
On to important matters. June 12 is the twentieth anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s important statement. Standing by the Berlin Wall – remember that? – he said to President Gorbachev, the great hope of the western left-wing intelligentsia and of those on the right who felt disdain towards the cowboy from Hollywood: “Mr President, tear down this wall!”
I recall the amused and contemptuous comments from journalists and commentators, all of whom felt that Reagan had somehow demonstrated his crudeness and stupidity. Could he not have said something more poetic and idyllic? Could he not have quoted some poet or well-known writer?
As far as the East Europeans and inhabitants of Soviet colonies were concerned there could have been nothing more idyllic or poetic. If Gorbachev was really serious about change, peace and reform, the best thing he could do was to tear that wall down, to destroy the symbol of Europe’s division.
Of course, he did nothing of the kind. The wall was eventually brought down by the people of the two Germanies. This article in today’s Wall Street Journal gives a good summary of the events that preceded that momentous fall as well as some discussion of the brilliant German film “The Lives of Others”.
So, June 12 is a good time to remember and over the Pond that is exactly what they are doing. In Washington DC an official memorial to the victims of Communism will be dedicated by Senator Tom Lantos, himself a son of a refugee from that system, and other official personalities. The statue, near Union Station and Capital Hill, will be modelled on the “Goddess of Democracy” that had been erected by protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989 before they were crushed by the tanks sent in by the Chinese government.
There will be two Truman-Reagan Medals of Honour presented, one to the writer, columnist, founder and long-term editor of the National Review, William F. Buckley and one, posthumously, to Senator Henry M. (Scoop) Jackson. Both of them have fought the evil empire and its agents of various kind in the West throughout their careers.
Well, now, is it not time we, on this side of the Pond, started thinking about something of that nature?
It has been pointed out to me that I made a couple of mistakes about Tom Lantos for which I apologize. Firstly, he is a Representative, not a Senator, something that I did know but was, perhaps, indulging in wishful thinking.
Secondly, he is a refugee himself, having taken part, according to his website, in an anti-Nazi underground movement when Hungary was invaded in 1944 and, later in an anti-Communist student organization. He did leave the country with a scholarship to study in the United States in 1947, before the Communists took over.