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mardi 12 juin 2007

Statue honors victims of communism

Statue honors victims of communism
By Kristen Chick
June 12, 2007

Tưởng Niệm Nạn Nhân Cộng sản Sáng ngày 12/6/2007

The life-sized version of this sculpture will be unveiled tomorrow at Massachusetts and New Jersey avenues Northwest. Barbara L. Salisbury (THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

Two months after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, conservative historian Lee Edwards began worrying that the world might forget the millions who suffered and died under communist regimes.
During a conversation at brunch with his wife, Anne, in 1990, he pondered how he could prevent those victims from becoming lost in history.
When his wife suggested building a memorial in Washington, he immediately scribbled the idea down on a napkin. Two days later, Mr. Edwards began to pursue a goal that would take 17 years, a bipartisan congressional bill and nearly $1 million to accomplish.
Today, the 20th anniversary of President Reagan's bold demand for the destruction of the Berlin Wall, Mr. Edwards, 74, will realize that dream when he unveils the Victims of Communism memorial.
"It's a great feeling of accomplishment, knowing that those 100 million victims are going to finally be memorialized and recognized," he said.
President Bush will help dedicate the memorial, which is the only monument of its kind in the world, said Mr. Edwards, chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.
Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, and Tom Lantos, California Democrat, also will speak at the ceremony.
"It's a historic day, a day of dedication, a day of remembrance and also a day of resolution that we will not ever again permit so terrible an evil to terrorize the world," Mr. Edwards said.
The memorial, called the "Goddess of Democracy," is a bronze replica of the figure erected by Chinese students during the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 and subsequently destroyed by Chinese tanks. The democracy-minded students had modeled it after the Statue of Liberty.
It stands at the intersection of Massachusetts and New Jersey avenues in Northwest.
Mr. Edwards is considered a leading historian of the American conservative movement. Author of more than 15 books, including two biographies of Mr. Reagan, he is a distinguished fellow in conservative thought at the Heritage Foundation.
It is no coincidence that the dedication will take place on the 20th anniversary of Mr. Reagan's visit to the Berlin Wall, where he challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's commitment to openness by declaring, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."

Mr. Edwards called that speech "the beginning of the end" of the Cold War.
While communism was collapsing around the globe, however, he was engaged in a long and difficult 24-step process to add to the monuments and memorials in the nation's capital.
He immediately knew that the District was the right place for it, he said.
"We were the leaders of the fight against communism, so what better place to have it than the nation's capital, which was also the capital of the free world for many years?" he said.
Congress authorized the memorial in 1993, and the nonprofit Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation was established soon after. The initial goal was to build a museum, but the foundation soon realized that would take more resources than it had.
"We had no seed money," Mr. Edwards said. "We're not professional fundraisers."
The foundation decided to reverse priorities and build the monument first, hoping it would generate the momentum to make a museum possible. The $1 million it took to create the memorial was raised through private funding.
Within the next two years, the foundation will present an "online museum," which will serve as a database of the available resources for learning about communism and its effects.
Eventually Mr. Edwards hopes to open a bricks-and-mortar museum.
For now, he said he hopes the Goddess of Democracy will become as much a tool of education as a memorial to lives lost, ensuring that generations growing up without firsthand knowledge of communism will be aware of its consequences.
He said he also expects the memorial to receive visitors from former communist states. On Thursday, hundreds of Lithuanians will visit the memorial with the Lithuanian foreign minister, he said.
"That's the kind of thing you're going to see more and more of," Mr. Edwards said. "It really is an educational process."


D.C. Monument To Be Built In Honor of Victims of Communism
Staff Reporter of the Sun
December 13, 2005


WASHINGTON - As members of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation gather tonight to honor Poland's opponents of Soviet domination, they also celebrate the impending completion of a 15-year dream: a monument in the nation's capital to commemorate the more than 100 million lives lost to an "enslaving" ideology.

The annual Truman-Reagan Freedom Awards, to be presented by the foundation tonight at a reception at the Embassy of Poland, will honor President Reagan's arms control adviser, General Edward Rowny; the Polish Solidarity Movement of the 1980s, represented by the first worker to strike, Anna Walentynowicz, and Pope John Paul II, whose award, presented posthumously, will be accepted by the Apostolic Nuncio to America, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo.

The event is also a fund-raiser expected to help clear one of the last hurdles between the foundation and the completion of the communism memorial, the chairman of the foundation, Lee Edwards, said.

If the $650,000 required for the memorial is raised, and all goes as planned, ground will be broken on the International Victims of Communism Memorial this spring and the monument will be completed six months later, Mr. Edwards said. The organization has received around $500,000 so far, and additional fund-raisers, including a February event in New York to be headlined by Mayor Giuliani, are planned to help bridge the gap.

The money will go toward a 10-foot bronze replica of the "Goddess of Democracy" statue erected by Chinese students and destroyed by Red Chinese tanks in Tiananmen Square in 1989. The image is based on the Statue of Liberty, and, Mr. Edwards said, "has been replicated and duplicated all over the world as a global symbol of freedom and democracy." According to Mr. Edwards, versions of the statue exist in France, England, Canada, Nigeria, and Taiwan, and miniature versions are distributed to winners of the National Endowment for Democracy's annual awards.

"We realized it was not just that tragedy and the massacre of Tiananmen" represented by the statue, but instead "a hopeful image" synonymous with the universal desire for freedom, Mr. Edwards said.

The foundation had considered other images to represent the 100 million victims of communism, Mr. Edwards, who is also a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington think tank, said. Among the themes considered were barbed wire to symbolize the gulags, boats for the Vietnamese "boat people," a replica of the Brandenburg Gate at the Berlin Wall, and a field of skulls to represent the Cambodian killing fields under Pol Pot.

Ultimately, Mr. Edwards said, the committee wanted a monument that would convey not communism's oppression but instead the innate desire of human beings to be free.

The bronze "Democracy" statue, to be crafted free of charge by California based sculptor Thomas Marsh, will stand atop a three-foot granite pedestal, which will bear three engraved dedications: "To the more than 100 million victims of communism"; "To the freedom and independence of all captive nations and peoples," and "To those who love liberty."

The statue and pedestal, Mr. Edwards said, will stand amid a plaza of granite covering a third of an acre at the intersections of Massachusetts and New Jersey avenues, a lot approved in April by the National Parks Service for the purpose of the memorial.

"We know that 20,000 cars go down Mass. Ave. every day," Mr. Edwards said. "It's a prime spot."

The monument, Mr. Edwards said, will be easily accessible, since the intersection is two blocks from Union Station and the District of Columbia will add a new stop to its public bus system at the memorial.

In addition to the monument, Mr. Edwards said, the foundation is also planning a virtual museum about communism and the 100 million lives it claimed, and hopes to someday raise enough money to erect a "brick-and-mortar" museum in Washington to accompany the monument. Mr. Edwards said the foundation had identified a vacant brick school building across the street from the monument for the purpose.

The soon-to-be-erected monument and hoped-for museum, he said, resulted from years of planning and fund-raising. The initial idea to erect a memorial for the millions who died at the hands of communists worldwide, Mr. Edwards said, came as he and friends involved in foreign policy work watched the Berlin Wall crumble in 1989.

Congress and President Clinton approved the monument in 1993, explicitly recognizing in the legislation sanctioning the memorial that the number of victims claimed by communism amounted to at least 100 million. Scholars who have worked on documenting the number of lives claimed by communism - including Hoover Institution fellow Robert Conquest and Harvard professor Richard Pipes - have been involved in the project and serve on the foundation's advisory board. The project also enjoys support from the Bush administration, Mr. Edwards said, as President Bush agreed to serve as the foundation's honorary chairman.

In addition to recognizing the ravages of communism, the memorial is also meant to educate those blessed with freedom, and to serve as a reminder that dangerous ideologies can have real, and horrifying, practical implications.

It is also meant to combat a prevailing ignorance of the extent of communism's victims, Mr. Pipes said.

"People are quite aware of what the Nazis did, but they are not aware of what the communists did," Mr. Pipes, a noted Sovietologist, said. "There is this general sort of presumption, particularly among intellectuals, that, 'Oh, communism was a good idea that didn't quite work out so well.'"

"But in terms of human casualties," Mr. Pipes added, "What went on in Russia and China is outrageous. It's appalling. And I think this kind of memorial will make people aware of it."

General Rowny said he hoped the memorial would also serve as a warning for those susceptible to being seduced by communism, particularly in "renegade countries" like Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea.

"It's to remind future generations that if there's any resurgence of this, or if anyone thinks communism is a good system, that, as Reagan said, there was an Evil Empire there," the general said.

Mr. Edwards said he hoped the memorial would also serve as a reminder that ideologies that enslave have universal implications.

"One of the most telling remarks was made last year by a friend of ours who was in the Soviet gulag," Mr. Edwards said. "Somebody asked him, 'Who were the victims of communism?' And he replied: 'Everyone in the 20th century was a victim of communism.'"

"That, to me, said it all," Mr. Edwards said. "It was truly a global tyranny, and that is why this is an international memorial. We want to keep this in the public mind, and, borrowing from our Jewish friends, say: 'Never again.'"

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Tưởng Niệm Nạn Nhân Cộng sản Sáng ngày 12/6/2007



June 23, 2004
Format de fichier: Microsoft Word - Version HTMLThe Victims of Communism Memorial will commemorate this struggle by paying tribute, ... featuring a replica of the Goddess of Democracy statue created by ...www.house.gov/hensarling/rsc/doc/Souder--communism.doc

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