I am sure some in my reading audience wonders when this old, yellow paged book will ever end. I know from looking at my statistics that my reader numbers have jumped up instead of gone down. That indicates to me that I have some serious thinkers who know about the truth of Soviet Union’s dark history. It wasn’t pretty. I know because I am in the middle of reading John Noble’s book “I was a Slave in Russia.” Not sure I want to take notes on that book, it’s too surreal with all the agony and pain he witnessed and lived to write about it.
I’m up to page 288 in my notes for “I Write as I Please” and this is the best part where Walter Duranty writes of his experience going to Central Asia. Of course, he is more interested in Uzbekistan but this is some shared history with those people who live in Kazakhstan too.
p. 288 James Elroy Flecker wrote a play called “Hassan” and a poem “The Golden Road to Samarkand” – Tamerlane’s proud capital [I will try to find by googling that play and poem to see if it is still around]
Walter Duranty wrote about F.G. Burnaby – hero of “Ride to Khiva” – reached ancient city far south of Aral Sea at Khiva, dikes built when Sumeria ruled Mesopotamia
Khan rebelled in 1922 against the Bolsheviks [what is in Kazakhstan’s history books about THIS event?]
p. 292 – WD wants to see Tamerlane’s tomb and they want to show dam and tobacco factory
Molly Van Rensselaer Cogswell was the hero because she rescued W.D. and two other veteran reporters Jim Mills with A.P., and Ed Deuss with Hearst so they could see the Registran instead of going to a boring factory that was built by the Soviets and hosted by the Soviet officials on this important junket [at least W.D. had his interest in history to spur him on to see the actual historical sites]
Lord Curzon praised Samarkand
Russian archeologist had been there since 1890 – earthquake in 1886
Mosque Bibi Khanoum – Tamerlane built in memory of dearest wife suffered damage dreadfully
p. 295 Bokhara
Ermin fled to Afghanistan in 1920-21 when Red Army advanced, he financed the “Basmachee” religious uprising against Bolshevik in 1922
p. 297 – kill those who are insane – admires the comet German regime with sterilization
p. 300 – “I Re-write as I please” (chapter title) rushed into collectivization – desirable in theory but it meant in practice mismanagement and woe. Rescued by Political Section from the militant communists
W.D. wrote that “people suffered greatly in the the process of 1928-1933” [that would be an understatement]
p. 301 – Even to a reporter who prides himself on having no bowels of compassion to weep over ruined homes and broken hearts, it is not always easy or plan and to describe such wreckage? [W.D. hearkens back to the cost of war and what he lived through during WWI, seems that nothing could top what he experienced as a war correspondent, his experience seemed to trump all others’ suffering under communism]
p. 302 – “unprecedented capital investment in socialized industry and has simultaneously converted agriculture for narrow and obsolete individualism to modern Socialist methods…their cost in blood and tears and other terms of human suffering has been prodigious, but I am not prepared to say that it is unjustified.” [so in other words, W.D. is willing to say “the end justifies the means”]
“ex malo scilicet bonum” = “don’t let yourself be defeated by difficulties you must try to turn them to your advantage.” [Did W.D. turn others’ suffering to his advantage by writing this book “I Write as I please?”
p. 304 – W.D. noted that the Bolsheviks used language by deliberate intent words incomprehensible to all save adepts. Their aims and ideas were magnificent but their methods distressing.
Does the end justify the means? [W.D. had to ask himself that question over and over again, I’m sure]
(to be continued)