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The Victims of Communism Memorial and selective empathy

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Image: Flickr/midiman

Canada loves its American reality show spinoffs. We had the Bachelor Canada, Top Chef Canada, and now Cold War Propaganda Canada. A multi-million dollar National Monument to Victims of Communism is scheduled for completion in Ottawa this fall. It will pay tribute to 100 million victims of communist regimes, apparently rounded to the nearest 100 million.

The problem is, these people weren’t killed by communism. They didn't lick the pages of a Karl Marx book and get poisoned to death. Most were killed by authoritarian states, not to advance communism, to advance the power of that state.

The Saudi Arabian government isn't communist, but they behead citizens in public for insulting Muhammad. They do that now. And they're an ally of Canada. I guess we're okay with it as long as they don't distribute the severed heads equally amongst the population. 

You can create a brutal, oppressive state with any ideology you want. You can have a capitalist-envirofascist-pro-Chipotle-anti-Taco-Bell-Coldplay-worshipping tyranny. When power gets too centralized, some ideology is used to justify it, powerless people get killed, and Coldplay potentially ascends unto heaven.

The Victims of Communism monument doesn't come from a place of genuine empathy. It's a political statement. To take one of many examples, a million of the people listed are Vietnamese. For each one of those deaths, seven tons of non-communist bombs were dropped by American planes during the Vietnam War. Those ones should at least have an asterisks in the shape of Henry Kissinger's head. And if you thought the Vietnam War was a noble cause maybe you should follow the example of the American army and destroy the monument so that you can save it.         

It's good to memorialize innocent victims of oppression, whether it's innocent victims of ruthless dictators, or flying death robots, or torture regimes. But shouldn't we prioritize the deaths of innocent people the Government of Canada was complicit in? If you're not sure what those might be, try Googling these subjects:

- 2004 Haitian coup d'état

- Indonesian occupation of East Timor

- Canadian mining in Latin America

And if you need a break from how depressing and infuriating those are, I suggest Googling "dog humps old lady very funny.” It's very funny. 

 

Image: Flickr/midiman

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