Tear down this red wall 3

There is a red wall in the schools and academies of America which needs to be torn down.

This is from Townhall, by Terrence Moore:

The ninth of November marked the twenty-fourth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, probably the most important historical event since World War II and the most important lesson about human freedom experienced within the living memory of most of us. …

How is this lesson being taught in the nation’s classrooms? For while those of us in our forties and older remember the fall of communism and its causes, today’s teenagers are wholly in the dark. What, then, are the high-school students of today being taught about what exactly — what principles, what forces, which people — brought down the Wall?

It is actually fairly easy to answer this question since forty-five states are now controlled by the testing and curricular regime known as the Common Core. … If we just take a quick glance at Appendix B of the Common Core English Standards, which recommends “exemplar texts” for reading, we find the addresses of a host of worthy historical figures: Patrick Henry, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, and, yes, Ronald Reagan. What a model of non-partisan selection!

But it would behoove us to look at which speech of Reagan is being recommended: “Address to Students at Moscow State University.” Now that is rather odd. Would that speech be the first that comes to mind when we consider “the best of Reagan”? Was that address the most historically significant? Why not the First Inaugural or his acceptance speech at the 1980 Convention or his important addresses on foreign policy or even his 1964 “A Time for Choosing” on behalf of Barry Goldwater that launched him to political prominence? Might this be a case of the architects of the Common Core wanting to look non-partisan by having Reagan’s name on the list while actually trying to take away the force of his message to America? We can solve the mystery by finding out what will take place in classes across the land …

On pages 403-4 of Pearson/Prentice Hall’s LITERATURE, Grade Ten, Common Core Edition, we see an editorial written on the tenth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It appeared in The New York Times. It begins, “The Berlin Wall was bound to fall eventually”. …  [It] continues:

But that it came down as bloodlessly as it did 10 years ago this week is largely a tribute to one leader. Today Mikhail Gorbachev is a political pariah in Russia and increasingly forgotten in the West. But history will remember him generously for his crucial role in ending the cold war and pulling back the Iron Curtain that Stalin drew across Europe in 1945.

So there you have it. Gorbachev brought down the Wall. Why? Well, evidently because he was a good guy. In one line of the editorial we are treated to a masterful use of elliptical prose: “As political pressures began to build in the late 1980s, Mr. Gorbachev was left with two options.” Etc. What political pressures? Who or what brought those pressures? We are not told. The New York Times editors assign the words “enlightened,” “idealism,” and “pragmatic” to Gorbachev. Indeed, the General Secretary of the Communist Party is said to have had “a wisdom and decency that is sadly rare in international power politics”.  Does that comment extend to American participants in international power politics, particularly at that time?

Those of us who lived through those years and kept up with events might wonder what role, if any, Ronald Reagan played in this drama, according to the textbook editors. Will the adjectives “enlightened,” “pragmatic,” “wise,” and “decent” be applied to him? His name is not to be found in any of the documents concerning the fall of the Berlin Wall. But on page 449, we do find, as promised in the Common Core, his Address to the Students of Moscow State University held up as a model “exemplar text”.  Unfortunately, the address is so heavily highlighted with shades of green, blue, orange, gray, purple, and pink — and so buried under the jargon of two-bit literary criticism (central idea and point of view, methods of development, organizational structures, rhetorical devices, figurative language, tone and word choice) — that it is hardly readable. Worse still, in the textbook editors’ introduction to the speech, students are told the following:

Led by Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviets were blazing through the greatest changes they had seen since the 1917 revolution. Although reforms were rapidly taking root, they were not far enough from communist ideology for Reagan. . . . In this excerpt, notice how Reagan restrains his strongly anti-communist sentiments while still extolling the ideals he represents.

The lesson? The enlightened, idealistic, wise, decent, and yet pragmatic Gorbachev had events well under control. The Soviets were “blazing through changes”; i.e. reform must have been their idea. But things were not moving fast enough for the strongly-anti-communist (i.e. stubborn, right-wing) Reagan. Nonetheless, we, the editors, have found a rare speech in which he actually moderated his tone. That’s Reagan at his best, insofar as he had a best.

What’s missing in this account? “General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Those are the words that brought down the Wall. But they are not to be found in the Common Core and therefore in the classrooms of America.

The architects of the Common Core plainly do not want the young people of America to read or to watch – for it is on the Web – that speech. The progressive bureaucrats who are now in control of the nation’s schools do not want the young people of America to know that the Cold War was won on principle, that courage and resolution on the part of Americans were essential to the ending of tyranny in the communist-controlled countries and the protecting of freedom in the rest of the world. They certainly do not want young Americans thinking that we were in the right and had to be prepared to use force against an evil empire. Above all, the arch-testers do not want today’s youth and tomorrow’s voters to know that in this contest for right and freedom a former actor named Ronald Reagan played the starring role.

He did – in partnership with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. All that Gorbachev can be credited with is that he saw – what by then was hard to miss – that the USSR could not survive. He tried to make adjustments so that it just might. It was impossible.

It had always been impossible for Communism to work. That is to say, it is not a system that can foster and protect prosperity, happiness, liberty, or even life. And when something can’t work, it doesn’t. The only surprising thing about the Soviet Union is that it creaked on in its hellish way for 70 years before it came to its grinding halt.

American children mis-educated by Common Core doctrine will not be told this. The compilers of Common Core text books seem still to have faith that Communism could work if only a few American generations could be brought up to believe that it could.

Leftists believe in the power of faith just as Christians do. But faith never has and never will overcome reality.

A kinder gentler Communism? 5

It is commonly said of Communism (as also, incidentally, of Christianity): “You can’t say it hasn’t worked because it has never really been tried.” The idea is that only rogues and sadists have led Communist revolutions and ruled Communist countries, but if that really nice Communist that everyone knows in private life were to implement his ideas, then – voila! – Utopia.

Sometimes one of the Communist faithful will speak of Alexander Dubcek as an example of a man who could have headed a Communist government that would have made Czechoslovakia happy if he had not been stopped by the wrongly-led USSR.

Question: Can any collective, any serfdom, ever make for human happiness?

Our answer: No.

Vladimir Tismaneanu, professor of politics at the University of Maryland gives his answer to the question in an article at Front Page. Here it is, almost in full:

In August 1968, the Warsaw Pact tanks and half a million-strong military killed the Prague Spring. It was not simply the end of a daring political experiment, but also a gigantic defeat for the dreams of reconciling communism and democracy. Marxist revisionism, the utopian endeavor to rediscover the presumably forgotten thesaurus of left-wing radicalism, suffered a terrible blow. In the words of a Polish dissident, “We then realized that there was no socialism with a human face, but only totalitarianism with broken teeth.”

Even Jean-Paul Sartre, the philosopher who in the 1950s had been silent (to put it mildly) about the Gulag, lambasted the invasion as “the socialism which came in from the cold.” It was the Leninist communism of barbed wire, fear, suspicion and lies. Stalin, as famous East European dissidents showed, was Lenin’s most faithful heir. He was also the most successful disciple. Post-Stalin Soviet leaders refused to allow for genuine democratization, remained faithful to the original one-party autocracy.

A joke of those times captured this continuity: “What are Brezhnev eyebrows? Stalin’s mustache at a higher level.”

The leader of the Prague Spring was Alexander Dubcek, a Moscow-trained communist apparatchik with reformist propensities. Elected Communist Party leader in January 1968, he launched an ambitious renewal program. In a few months, many Stalinist institutions lost their power. Censorship was disbanded, intellectuals were excited, civil society returned. Warsaw Pact leaders, headed by the sclerotic Leonid Brezhnev, panicked. Romania’s Nicolae Ceausescu supported Dubcek not because of solidarity with the attempt to humanize socialism, but rather as a way to challenge Soviet imperialist claims.

Adopted in April 1968, the “Action Program” of the Czechoslovak communists pledged to put an end to repressive policies and engage the party in a genuine dialogue with the citizens. One its main authors, Zdenek Mlynar, had studied law in Moscow in the early 1950s. He shared a dormitory room with a young Soviet student, an arduous Komsomol militant named Mikhail Gorbachev. They became close friends. Years later, Gorbachev would resume the Prague Spring agenda hoping against hope that democratic communism could somehow be accomplished.

In June, writer Ludvik Vaculik issued a document that entered history as “The Two Thousand Words” manifesto. The Soviets and their allies went ballistic. The Manifesto was an unmitigated, outspoken, unambiguous call for political pluralism. Millions supported it expecting a multi-party system to emerge soon. As events unfolded in breathtaking speed, the neo-Stalinists East European despots acted pre-emptively and crushed the Prague Spring. Dubcek and his comrades were arrested, transported to Moscow and forced to sign a humiliating capitulation. A few months later, Dubcek was expelled from the communist party.

A new freeze followed under the name “normalization.” It was the normalcy of jails, denunciations, terror. …  Opposition activists were harassed, besmirched, jailed. They acted heroically in spite of the most unpropitious circumstances. Among them, critical intellectuals like Vaclav Havel who argued in favor of the power of the powerless.

Then in March 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in Moscow. In his belief that communism included such a humanistic dimension and his insistence that Stalin had been a vicious traitor to the original Marxist and Leninist messages, Gorbachev was part of a long tradition within the communist chapels. Students of Marxism refer to the attempt to turn such beliefs into policy as revisionism.

Of course, Gorbachev was not the first celebrated revisionist. Before him, attempts had been made by others to reconcile socialism with democracy and to jettison the repressive features of the system as distortions of an intrinsically healthy order. Consider Imre Nagy*, Hungary’s premier during the 1956 revolution, executed in 1958, and then Alexander Dubcek. Both Nagy and Dubcek failed because Soviet intervention crushed their experiments and dashed hopes of renovating socialism from within. But when Gorbachev came to power in March 1985 and announced his program of renewal, there was no foreign force to threaten the great shaker in the Kremlin. The seeds of the negation of the old order were planted in the empire’s innermost sanctum.

What have been the main illusions of Nagy, Dubcek, Gorbachev and other revisionists?

First, that the Communist Party, as the initiator of reforms, should preserve a central role during their implementation.

Second, that there was a middle way between the conservation of Stalinist structures and their complete disbandment.

Third, that a compromise of sorts could be reached with the exponents of the old regime.

And fourth, that the population at large was ready to enthusiastically espouse the revisionist program and endorse the new leaders in the frantic search for modernization. The revisionists naively believed in their popular mandate.

But this logic was basically flawed. The system could not tolerate structural changes and secreted antibodies. In the case of the Soviet Union, instead of foreign intervention, Gorbachev was faced with the morose inertia of the bureaucratic colossus. His exhortations increasingly fell on deaf ears, as economic performance failed to improve. The work ethos was plagued by apathy and indifference.

Were Dubcek and Gorbachev true believers? In a sense yes, because only a true believer would have engaged in such destructive action while hoping that there was enough loyalty to the system among its subjects to keep the regime alive.

The crushing of the Prague Spring was justified as defense of socialist internationalism. In fact, Marxist internationalism was nothing but hollow, ludicrous rhetoric, a facade for Soviet imperialism, ethical dereliction, civic paralysis, and bureaucratic domination. …

It demonstrated a truth that East Europeans had been long familiar with: There is no communism with a human face.

*We have doubts that Imre Nagy would have tried very hard to “reconcile socialism with democracy and to jettison the repressive features of the system as distortions of an intrinsically healthy order”, but every other point in the Professor’s expert demolition of the starry-eyed argument for a kinder gentler Communism supports our own convictions.

The mystic UN and Agenda 21 1

Could there be something happening in the world today that is even more threatening to life and liberty than Islam and its jihad?

There could be, there is, and its name is Agenda 21.

It emanates from that powerhouse of evil, the United Nations. It was initiated and is driven by votaries of a dark mysticism.  They call themselves shamans. They freely confess – no, they boast – that they are working to establish totalitarian world government; that they aim to reduce the population of the world to half a billion and keep it at that number; that those suffered to live must return to a primitive existence deriving bare sustenance from such resources as their local habitat provides, own nothing, and worship the earth goddess Gaia with prescribed ritual.

That is their vision of a new world order, the ultimate objective. It is to be attained step by step, starting with the enforcing of environmental regulations (among them the phasing out of the motor vehicle); emptying the suburbs and bringing people into the cities to be closely and austerely housed; returning the countryside to wilderness, which involves the destruction of roads …

Is this just absurd alarmism? Surely no plotters, even in the UN, could really bring this off, could they? They haven’t really started doing these things have they? Who are these shadowy figures who can exert irresistible influence on the political powers of this world?

We quote from The Green Agenda, a (Christian) site established to expose the movement for world government and explain how it is being put into effect, chiefly through the implementation of Agenda 21. It has links to the documents themselves.  

Agenda 21 spreads it tentacles from Governments, to federal and local authorities, and right down to community groups. Chapter 28 of Agenda 21 specifically calls for each community to formulate its own Local Agenda 21: “Each local authority should enter into a dialogue with its citizens, local organizations, and private enterprises to formulate ‘a Local Agenda 21.’ Through consultation and consensus-building, local authorities would learn from citizens and from local, civic, community, business and industrial organizations and acquire the information needed for formulating the best strategies.” – Agenda 21, Chapter 28, sec 1.3

Interestingly, in April 1991, fourteen months before Earth Summit, Prince Charles held a private two day international conference aboard the royal yacht Britannia, moored off the coast of Brazil. His goal was to bring together key international figures in an attempt to achieve a degree of harmony between the various countries that would gather at the Summit. Al Gore was present, along with senior officials from the United Nations and the World Bank.

At the summit 179 nations officially signed Agenda 21 and many more have followed since. Nearly 12,000 local and federal authorities have legally committed themselves to the Agenda. In practice this means that all their plans and policies must begin with an assessment of how the plan or policy meets the requirements of Agenda 21, and no plans or policies are allowed to contradict any part of the Agenda. Local authorities are audited by UN inspectors and the results of the audits are placed on the UN website. You can see how many local authorities in your country were bound by Agenda 21 in 2001 here. The number has increased significantly since then.

The official opening ceremony was conducted by the Dalai Lama and centered around a Viking long-ship that was constructed to celebrate the summit and sailed to Rio from Norway. The ship was appropriately named Gaia. A huge mural of a beauiful woman holding the earth within her hands adorned the entrance to the summit. Al Gore led the US delegation where he was joined by 110 Heads of State, and representatives of more than 800 NGO’s.

Maurice Strong, Club of Rome member, devout Bahai, founder and first Secretary General of UNEP [UN Environment Program], has been the driving force behind the birth and imposition of Agenda 21.

He chaired the Earth Summit, and outside, while he did,  –

His wife Hanne and 300 followers called the Wisdom-Keepers, continuously beat drums, chanted prayers to Gaia, and tended sacred flames in order to “establish and hold the energy field” for the duration of the summit. …

In the course of his opening speech Maurice Strong made these remarks:

“The concept of national sovereignty has been an immutable, indeed sacred, principle of international relations. It is a principle which will yield only slowly and reluctantly to the new imperatives of global environmental cooperation. It is simply not feasible for sovereignty to be exercised unilaterally by individual nation states … The global community must be assured of environmental security.”

“We must transform our attitudes, and adopt a renewed respect for the superior laws of Divine Nature.”

“Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, air-conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable. A shift is necessary which will require a vast strengthening of the multilateral system, including the United Nations.”

“Global management” is required in order to keep the earth clean and pure. Or it is necessary to keep the earth clean and pure in order to impose “global management”. Take your pick, because it is never made clear which is the means and which the end. In any case, they’re after “global management” (which we believe is the end). They will manage your life because they know best. You will do as they say. For “sustainability“. And to serve the Higher Good. Which is the nursing of the planet. The serving of the planet. The worshiping of the planet.

And the preservation of everything that lives on it. Even human beings within strict limits. This is called “biodiversity“.

The Global Biodiversity Assessment of the State of the Earth, prepared by the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) –

armed UN leaders with the “ecological basis, and moral authority” they needed to validate their global management system. The GBA concludes … that “the root causes of the loss of biodiversity are embedded in the way societies use resources. This world view is characteristic of large scale societies, heavily dependent on resources brought from considerable distances. It is a world view that is characterized by the denial of sacred attributes in nature.”

For this the inscribers of this idiotic document blame Christianity, Judaism, and Islam – of which we are not defenders; but it’s not as if they themselves are against religious superstition – far from it:

“Eastern cultures with religious traditions such as Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism did not depart as drastically from the perspective of humans as members of a community of beings including other living and non-living elements.”

The UN was delighted with this tosh. Maurice Strong was honored and rewarded:

Following the Earth Summit Maurice Strong was named Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, and was appointed to the position of Chief Policy Advisor by Kofi Annan. He was also a member of the UN’s Commission on Global Governance, and the key architect of the Kyoto Protocol.

Did you know that the UN has a Commission on Global Governance? Do Western governments know it? If so, why is the UN allowed to continue in existence?

Just as the dirty mystic Rasputin was able to influence the rulers of Russia, so Maurice Strong is able to influence the would-be rulers of the world in the UN. A parliament of fools if ever there was one.

Strong and his wife have also established the Manitou Foundation, providing land in Colorado to an eclectic mix of religious groups, including the Crestone Mountain Zen Center, the Spiritual Life Institute (a Catholic Carmelite monastery), the Haidakhandi Universal Ashram, the Sri Aurobindo Learning Center, Mangala Shri Bhuti (Tibetan Buddhists), and Karma Thegsum Tashi Gomang (Indian mystics). The Strongs have located their spiritual centre in the Colorado mountains because:”The Strongs learned that since antiquity indigenous peoples had revered this pristine wilderness as a place for conducting their vision quests and receiving shamanic trainings. It is prophesied that the world’s religious traditions would gather here and help move the world toward globally conscious co-existence and co-creation.”

But while these multifarious dupes and charlatans wait for their “vision quests” and “shamanic trainings”, their drumming, their sacred flames, and their invocations to return the human race to primitive savagery, the collective political steps to the same end are being taken conscientiously by national and local government in accordance with Agenda 21.

So what exactly does Agenda 21 contain? It consists of 115 different and very specific programs designed to facilitate, or to force, the transition to Sustainable Development. The objective, clearly enunciated by the leaders of the Earth Summit, is to bring about a change in the present system of independent nations. The agenda is broken up into 8 “programme areas for action”:  Agriculture,  Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management, Education, Energy and Housing, Population, Public Health, Resources and recycling, Transportation, Sustainable Economic Development.

A link to the entire document is provided, but as the author says, it would take a few days to read all of this “blueprint for the 21st century”. The first six paragraphs are quoted for those with less time at their disposal. There the assertion is made that it “reflects a global consensus and political commitment at the highest level on development and environment cooperation”.

This is nonsense of course. There is no global consensus. As for a political commitment “at the highest level”, if this means that the likes of Prince Charles, Prince Philip, Angela Merkel, Mikhail Gorbachev, Tony Blair, have swallowed the ballyhoo without even chewing it, then yes.

It also asserts that “the developmental and environmental objectives of Agenda 21 will require a substantial flow of new and additional financial resources to developing countries, in order to cover the incremental costs for the actions they have to undertake to deal with global environmental problems and to accelerate sustainable development. Financial resources are also required for strengthening the capacity of international institutions for the implementation of Agenda 21.” That means taxing us, and global redistribution of our money.

The author (whose name we have not discovered) stresses that “Agenda 21 is … an attempt to impose a global centrally planned quasi-government administered by the United Nations. Under Agenda 21 all central government and local authority signatories are required to conform strictly to a common prescribed standard and hence this is just communism resurrected in a new guise.”

She also says that “Agenda 21 has [already] gained a stranglehold on global regulatory and planning processes”.

We think this is true, at least to some significant extent.

In our town the City Council is certainly putting Agenda 21 into effect. Small-unit housing is being built near railway stations. It is not family accomodation, but most suitable for single occupants. (Families are to be discouraged from living together. The family as such is bad for the environment and for collective organization.) There will be places to park bicycles but not cars. Private transport is being discouraged. “Smart meters” will inform the Authorities how warm or how cool the occupant keeps his/her austere little space. How much heat, light and water you use will not only be monitored, but controlled.

Hundreds of cities in many if not all the states have embarked, or plan to embark, on the same sort of program. (Unless they’re going bankrupt. It may be that economic crisis, bad as it is, could save us from something worse.)

President Obama is against the existence of the suburbs, where individual families live in privately-owned houses. He wants to concentrate population in the cities. (Some have written about this –   eg. see here – but have not put it into its proper context, which is the implementation of Agenda 21.) The government can, has, and will use the eminent domain clause of the fifth amendment to expropriate private property.

It is more than likely happening in your town. Your property is under threat. Your way of life is being decided for you.

Not only do we have Christians, we even have some Democrats on our side in confronting this horrifying movement. 

Watch this video made by Democrats Against UN Agenda 21. It is long but informative. The worst news about what state and local government are doing to us comes after the 50 minute mark, but don’t skip too much before that. The shocking information needs the explanation and context.

 

The UN must be destroyed.

 

Tarnished laurels 1

The Nobel Peace Prize has been so thoroughly debased that it could be considered a positive insult for a person who deserves honor to be awarded it.

What decent man or woman would want to be in this company?

  • Yasser Arafat, the grandfather of Islamic terrorism
  • Al Gore, who promotes the lie of manmade global warming for personal gain
  • Kofi Annan, who presided over the UN-Iraq food-for-oil scandal
  • Jimmy Carter – enough said
  • Rigoberta Manchu, another prize liar
  • Sean MacBride, Chief of Staff of the IRA,  also awarded the Lenin Peace Prize
  • Barack Obama, a leftist community organizer from Chicago

All of these have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.

There have a been a few, a small minority, of  worthy laureates since the Second World War. Martin Luther King was one, Aung San Suu Kyi who continues to oppose the oppressive regime of Myanmar (Burma) is another. Amazing that the Norwegian committee could very occasionally get it right!

And now again – the committee has actually chosen to reward a worthy recipient: Professor Liu Xiaobo, who at great personal risk has opposed the Communist regime of China, and is therefore being punished with imprisonment.

He is a writer who has dared to call for democracy to replace communist one-party rule in his country. He participated in the Tiananmen Square protests. He has committed no violent acts and has harmed nobody.

China is outraged that he is being honored, and has pressed other countries to boycott the award ceremony, where Liu Xiaobo will be present only in effigy, his face seen in a portrait on his otherwise empty chair. No members of his family have been allowed to travel to Oslo to receive the prize on his behalf. His wife, Liu Xia, is being held incommunicado.

The New York Times reports:

China has been incensed by Mr. Liu’s award …   and the government has been waging an offensive to rebrand the prize as a Western ploy to undermine the Chinese Communist Party’s hold on power. …

Chinese officials [are] saying supporters of Mr. Liu are fundamentally opposed to China’s development and trying to interfere in the country’s politics and legal system.

A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, told reporters: “I would like to say to those at the Nobel committee, they are orchestrating an anti-China farce by themselves.”

“We are not changing because of interference by a few clowns and we will not change our path,” she said …

Eighteen countries will obey China and boycott the event.

Nineteen governments have said their ambassadors will not attend a ceremony this week awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned Chinese dissident, the Norwegian prize committee said on Tuesday … reflecting the strong pressure exerted by Beijing to boycott the event.

Those 19 countries are: China itself, Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Serbia, Iraq , Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, the Philippines, Egypt, Sudan, Ukraine, Cuba and Morocco.

Look at it, this list of countries who will do Communist China’s bidding. How disappointing to see Colombia on the list. And why is Serbia doing this? Or the Philippines? Or Egypt? Or Ukraine? And why Iraq and Afghanistan, countries for which so much American blood has been spilled to bring them the opportunity of freedom?

However, 44 countries will be sending a representative.

Invitations to the ceremony are routinely sent only to those 65 countries with embassies in Oslo, Mr. [Geir] Lundestad [the committee’s secretary] said  …  Those who accepted included “all the western countries” along with representatives from other countries including India, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa, South Korea and Japan, he said.

There’s at least one surprise on that list too: South Africa.

If it makes Liu Xiaobo’s name better known throughout the world, and his cause better appreciated, the prize, this time, has been well awarded.

But the only historically important fact about the Nobel Prize for Peace, demonstrating how valueless it has become as a result of the usual perversity and moral blindness of the Norwegian judges, is that it was not awarded to Ronald Reagan who, along with Margaret Thatcher, was chiefly responsible for bringing the Cold War – the terror that hung over the whole world for 45 years – to a quiet end. And that it did go to Mikhail Gorbachev, freedom’s defeated enemy.

In commemoration of the fall of the Berlin wall 0

Today, November 9, 2009, is the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

It was one of the greatest events of history.

The wall both literally and symbolically marked the division between tyranny and freedom.

It was erected on Sunday, August 13, 1961, to prevent people living under the Soviet-controlled Communist regime in East Germany from fleeing into free West Berlin.  About 1500 people a day had been migrating westward.

Within 24 hours West Berlin was sealed off from the so-called Democratic Republic of Germany.

At first it was a fence consisting of barbed wire, spread over some 96 miles.

In 1962 an inner wall was built. The 100 yard gravel area between the fence and the wall was booby-trapped with trip wires, and mined.

In 1975  a stronger, higher, thicker wall made of concrete and reinforced with mesh fencing and barbed wire was constructed. It was known as the ‘Grenzmauer 75’. Soldiers stationed in some 300 watchtowers had a clear view of the space, and orders to shoot down anyone attempting to cross it.

Over 100,000 people tried to escape to freedom. Some 5,000 succeeded, mostly in the early years before the ‘Grenzmauer 75’ was built. Later, successful crossings were made through tunnels. Two families succeeded by hot-air balloon, and one man in a light aircraft. At least 136 people were killed in the attempt, most famously 18-year-old Peter Fechter, shot on August 17, 1962, as he tried to climb the wall. He lay for hours in the space between the wall and the fence, crying out for help while he bled to death. The East German border guards waited for him to die before they carried him away.

Twenty-five years later, on June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan of the United States stood on the west side of the Brandenberg Gate beyond which the wall ran, and said to the Russian leader in a famous speech, ‘Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!’

The speech was symptomatic of the firm stand he maintained against the Soviet Union.

Two and a half years later the wall was brought down.

Its fall heralded the collapse of Soviet Russia and its evil empire. It marked the end of the Cold War and the victory of the free world, led by the United States of America.

The conquering hero of that stupendous victory was President Reagan. How he won the Cold War is the subject of volumes, but win it he did.

Of inestimable help to him was Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of Great Britain.

A few days ago Mikhail Gorbachev, George H. W. Bush who was president of the US when the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991, and Helmut Kohl who was Chancellor of West Germany at the time, met on the stage of a Berlin theatre to commemorate the fall of the wall.

Margaret Thatcher, who had not wanted the reunification of Germany but nevertheless played a decisive part in defeating the Communist tyranny over Eastern Europe, was not included.

The president of the United States, Barack Obama, has refused to attend any of the celebratory ceremonies in Germany. His excuse is that he is ‘too busy’.

Jillian Becker  November 9, 2009