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DAY OF RECKONING FOR THE VICTIMS OF COMMUNISM

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Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOCMF)

By Jackie Bong-Wright

Fund-Raising Gala Dinner

On the day after Christmas, "Boxing Day" in England, 500 Vietnamese Americans gathered at the Lucky Three restaurant in Falls Church and remembered the one million of their compatriots who had been killed at the hands of the Vietnamese Communists.  Within two hours, on the appeal of Uyen Dinh, a young activist, the attendees contributed $27,000 to help build a Victims of Communism Memorial.  "Any money raised will be matched dollar for dollar by the Victims Of  Communism Memorial Foundation," said Dinh Hung Cuong, one of the organizers of the event. 

Vietnamese and American college students, each holding a white mourning cloth and a lighted candle, walked onto the stage and surrounded a white statue of the Goddess of Democracy.  They sang the American and Vietnamese anthems, and finished with a minute of silence to commemorate the Communists' victims, who had sacrificed their lives in the struggle of democracy and freedom all over the world.

State Senator Leslie Byrne of Virginia, who had introduced the "Vietnam Human Rights Day" bill that was passed by Congress in May 1994, echoed that she would continue to support the fight for freedom and democracy in Vietnam.

Memorial and Museum 

The principal speaker, who was introduced by emcee Bui Duong Liem, was Jay Katzen, President of the Victims Of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOCMF). "With the bipartisan support of Congress and approval of the President, the Victims of Communism Memorial and Museum will commemorate the more than 100 million victims of Communism and will honor those who challenged Communist regimes," said Katzen. The intent, he continued, was to locate the memorial at First and Louisiana streets, near Union Station in Washington.  The memorial is to be completed in the fall of 2004. 

            "We will erect a 9-foot bronze statue of the Goddess of Democracy, a replica of the statue created by student activists, which was destroyed by Communist tanks in Tianamen Square in 1989," Katzen explained.  "The monument's eternal flame will burn for your family and friends and for the liberty denied them.  We will not allow those whom we lost to be forgotten.  We will build a memorial for those who cannot be with us tonight so that future generations will know of them, as well as the tyranny and terror of Communism."  

            As for the museum, it would be located on a website and would educate the American public and the world about the Cold War and document Communism's continuing crimes against humanity.  The online museum will include a Roll Call of Victims (the names, photos, and personal testimonies); a Hall of Heroes honoring anti-Communist champions such as Ronald Reagan, Harry Truman, Pope John Paul II, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Andrei Sakharov, Lech Walesa and Vaclav Havel; a Hall of Infamy representing Communism's inhumanity to man; and guided tours of similar museums around the world.

The Battle Continues: Testimonies

            Writer and journalist Son Tung told the audience that he had been haunted for years by the tragic death of six members of his family, brutally murdered by the Vietnamese Communists.  "They were among the one million who perished under the Communists in Vietnam.  To cover up their own crimes, the Communists set up an exhibition hall in Saigon to show crimes committed by the Americans.  Ironically, some liberal media in the West gave this Communist tyranny a helping hand by spreading their propaganda, ignoring their horrible crimes and even treating them as liberators.  But  the truth cannot be covered up forever.  It is our obligation to make the world remember those who were slaughtered, to expose the Communists' crimes, and to bring to light the just cause of freedom.  I believe that before long, we will be able to go back to a free Vietnam and build a monument to commemorate the victims of Communism in Hanoi."

Nguyen Cao Quyen, a former judge in Vietnam, jailed for eleven years after the unification of Vietnam under the Communists in 1975, told the audience, "In civilized societies, the basic principle that killing is wrong has been accepted universally.  But the 20th century recorded enormous massacres by the Communists -  20 million in the Soviet Union, 60 million in China, 2 million in North Korea, 2 million in Cambodia, 1 million in South Vietnam, and many more  in other countries as well."

"Since 1945, the Vietnamese Communists exterminated religious leaders, assassinated opposition leaders, killed intellectuals, businessmen, and even peasants who disagreed with their ideology.  These terrorist acts were crimes against humanity and the genocide of entire classes.  We are longing for the day when these criminals will be convicted in an international court.  In the meantime, this memorial will be the most concrete proof of their vicious acts, which will be exposed for the public and the world to contemplate."     

                The website of the VOCMF (victimsofcommunism.org), defends its mission.  Responding to those who question the relevance of fixing our attention on victims of Communism when the first priority is the war on terrorism, the website cites Michael Waller who has studied Soviet archives, and spoken to defectors and intelligence agents. He writes that "the networks of those very murderers whom we are fighting today were built by the USSR and its proxies from the 1960s through the 1980s."  Waller notes that of the seven governments categorized by the State Department last year as state sponsors of terrorism, five (Cuba, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, and Syria) were ruled by individuals or groups that were originally installed or propped up by the Soviet Union.  Edmund Burke, too is quoted " All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

 
100 Million Victims of Communism Remembered
 
By Nicholas Zifcak
Epoch Times Washington, D.C. Staff
 

The first memorial for the more than 100 million victims of communism broke ground Wednesday Sep. 27 in Washington, D.C. The memorial will be located two blocks from Union Station and will be completed by June 2007.

Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOCMF) chairman Lee Edwards, Ph.D. explained the need for a memorial saying, "We hear voices of those who were tried and shot as an enemy of the people, of the wives who were taken to a camp as a member of an enemy's family, of the children who grew up in orphanages and joined criminal gangs… We cannot, we must not, we will not forget those who died and are still dying under communism."

"For today we proclaim that Communism is indeed dead, but we will never forget those that Communism murdered during its brief life on this planet," said Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Ca.) at the ceremony. Congressman Rohrabacher authored and pushed through the House of Representatives the bill that authorized the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation to design, build, and maintain this memorial in Washington, D.C.

The Victims of Communism tragically number "more than 100 million, struck down in an unprecedented imperial communist holocaust through conquests, revolutions, civil wars, purges, wars by proxy, and other violent means," says the website of the VOCMF.

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation organized the effort and gathered sponsors to build the memorial. The foundation modeled the memorial after the Goddess of Democracy statue raised by student protestors on Tiananmen Square in China in 1989. Student sculptors at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing built the Goddess of Democracy statue in the spring of 1989, using the Statue of Liberty in New York City Harbor to inspire them.

Congressman Rohrabacher said of the statue: "It is fitting that this be the statue for the Victims of Communism, because it represents the one country of the world that still languishes under the tyranny of Communism. And that country, of course, is China."

Thomas Marsh is the sculptor of the bronze replica of the Goddess of Democracy statue that will stand at the center of the memorial. He also designed the memorial.

On the front of the statue's pedestal will be engraved "To the more than 100 million victims of Communism and to those who love liberty." The back of the pedestal will be engraved with "To the freedom and independence of all captive nations and peoples."

Edwards, chairman of the memorial foundation, pointed out that the memorial, while mainly to remember those that died under communism, will also "serve to remind visitors that 1/5 of the world's population still lives, and not by their choice, under communism."

Son Tung of the Vietnamese American Committee agreed: "But it would be wrong for those who think that communist ideas are no longer around. More than a billion people are still suffering under communist regimes, including 80 million Vietnamese. Therefore, this monument also serves as symbol of the cause we are still fighting for."

The memorial effort was initiated years back by former U.S. Ambassador Lev E. Dobriansky, who conceived the Captive Nations Week in 1959. For many years Ambassador Dobriansky lead the intellectual fight with those "who did not want to admit the nature of communism and did not want to confront the evils of communism," praised Rohrabacher.

The ambassador's daughter, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, Paula Dobriansky, spoke at the ceremony:

"Communism corroded the human experience of the 21st Century. The sheer number staggers and chastens us. Over a 100 million people died as a direct and often intended consequence of decisions made by Communist rulers."

Many ambassadors and representatives of foreign nations also attended the ceremony. Including ambassadors and deputy chief ministers (DCMs) of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Romania, Slovakia, and the Ukraine.

L.A. Isufi, chairman of the Albanian Republican Party, commented during an interview: "Actually, I am very happy, and yet not happy, because it deserves a much bigger ground, a more prominent place. Because this is a real holocaust, 100 million people! And for 70 years, millions and millions of them suffered, and are still suffering."

When former prisoner in the Gulag Mikhail Makarenko was once asked, who were the victims of communism? He replied: "Everyone, everyone who lived in the 20th Century was a victim of Communism."

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation garnered support from ethnic communities, foundations, individuals and foreign governments. The ethnic communities in America provided financial support lead by the Latvians, Lithuanians, Estonians, Vietnamese, Chinese, Polish, and Hungarians. In addition to a number of individual donors, foreign governments from the Republic of China on Taiwan, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and Poland also provided sponsorship.

The VOCMF is a non-profit educational organization that works to honor those who successfully resisted communism and to educate about communism's crimes against humanity.

For the website of the VOCMF, visit this link: http://www.victimsofcommunism.org/

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