Posts tagged Joseph Stalin

Let’s make Joseph (Stalin) Infamous!!!

I’m still bothered by the hype created by the Kony 2012 people. So Joseph Kony has been marauding and pillaging for 26 years and tragically altered the lives of 30,000 children and their families. What about what Joseph Stalin did for 30 years in the USSR, what about the millions who were starved to death in the 1930s in Ukraine?  Why is it so much easier to turn Americans heads to something that is going on in the jungles of Africa?  With all the historical literature, police records and archival evidence at our disposal about the atrocities of the gulag in Russia and specifically the karlag system in Kazakhstan, why the silence?

These very same people who are lobbying, want our U.S. military to go and save the African children who are kidnapped. Aren’t they the same people who were against President George Bush who wanted to get Hussein out of Iraq and tried for war crimes and capture bin Laden for 9/11? Didn’t we deploy our military to those countries?  Apparently this is different. We are supposedly only going to send 100 “advisors” to be on the ground.  That’s how Vietnam started.  Okay, so now as of December 2011, Joseph Kony has been served notice he is the top most wanted man according to the I.C.C.

What’s this latest thing with George Clooney being arrested today in front of the Sudan embassy in Washington D.C? He is NOT one of my favorite actors (“Perfect Storm” was the last bomb I watched of him though he was funny in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”)  Does Clooney know something about Joseph Kony moving back from Uganda into the very place where he was armed by the Muslim leadership in the north to shoot and kill the Christian population in southern Sudan?  I guess the American media and publicity will shed light on what is going on right now so the killing and kidnapping can stop. YES, I am all for Joseph Kony being stopped.

However, more energy should be exerted in our school systems to know the atrocities that Joseph Stalin committed and make him infamous.  He was far, far worse than Hitler but the academic community is silent on that score, why?  Instead of making Joseph Kony famous, let’s make Joseph Stalin infamous.  The youthful enthusiasm going into this during election year has me greatly puzzled.  April 20th will be the big night out for people to demonstrate their feelings about Kony.  What if Kony is captured and killed before then?  That would be a little bit of a bummer for the organizers, right?

To me, this is too well orchestrated…too sinister on many levels. I hope I am wrong about the Invisible Children founders.  Gavin Russell certainly is a cute little boy who could tell the bad guy (Joseph Kony) from the good guy Jacob who lost his brother to the L.R.A. Gavin’s father is doing what he can for justice.  However, I’m reminded of the verse from Micah:

“He has shown you, O man, what is good;

And what does the Lord require of you

But to do justly,

To love mercy,

And to walk humbly with your God?”

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Kazakh Students Thoughts on Stalin (Part II)

The following is a continuation of yesterday’s blog about my Kazakhstani students responding to the question about Stalin and Vavilov whose life and reputation as a great scientist were destroyed by Soviet policies in the name of collectivization in Kazakhstan

A. Y. – Personally, I do not believe in the effectiveness of system existed in USSR.  On my point of view, it’s only the people’s will that made socialism exist so long.  Maybe because of that I do not have positive attitude towards Joseph Stalin.  According to Christopher Robbins book there were millions of people who died, lots of prisons organized. And all of these facts were hidden from citizens.  As I’ve heard, the extract from “Apples are from Kazakhstan” I’m more persuaded in my opinion.  Yes, it’s a widespread thought that if there wouldn’t be Stalin’s politics in 1939-1945 USSR will not win Great Patriotic War.  But I disagree with that.  How can be admired such person, who killed intelligentsia (destroyed traditions, culture) who deported different nations without their wanting, who sent own citizens to Front of the fighting people?

 

L. K. – I know a bit about Joseph Stalin and when you ask older people in KZ, they all have different points of view about him.  Some older generation people praise him and say good things about him.  At the same time, there are many people who think that he was a despot, especially those whose close relatives suffered from his regime.  For instance, if their husband or father was killed, sent away to the prison or camps because they were “enemies of nation” as Stalin said and they were not guilty.  So many people died because of it, families had been destroyed.  Their wives were sent to a special place to live, children couldn’t study at universities.  During Stalin’s regime, people were afraid of everything.  They were afraid to say something freely about the regime or their life otherwise they would be punished severely.

 

M.T. – I think that Joseph Stalin was a very bad leader, because he did everything just for Russia, not USSRMoscow and in its only interests.  Also, he tried to erase the culture of nations, therefore, everyone spoke only Russian, learned Russian history and literature.  He didn’t let people who didn’t think the way he did to live in their motherland.  He tortured some of them worse than fascists. It is hard to think of what it could have been if he wasn’t a ruler.  But for us personally, it could be that Uyghurs had their own country, separate from China or they still would be a part of ChinaKyrgyzstan and people who died in plane crash would have lived.

 

K. S. I think of course if in Soviet Union was no Stalin life of all people was different.  Some people said that Stalin is a great man, but most people of course disagree.  In Soviet Union was many prisons where famous people were, x-scientists and others.  Vavilov was in prison too and he died there.  I think its stupid to try to do nomad nature, culture and people into agricultural.  From history we see that people can do nothing against nature and human nature.  Stalin was powerful and even despotic man.

 

N. U. – J. Stalin was one of the famous persons in twentieth century.  He controlled all over big land and huge population all over 30 years.  In that time in , Stalin had a great impact to people, that they always felt afraid and also they felt patriotism of community.  But today we have so many arguments about him, that the most starting hate him.  And the many reasons was the year of 1925-35, but when there was Second World War, people from Kazakhstan say that he was great person.  So, whatever person some to government, he will always have the enemy and people who loves him.  So, it is political system and it is the main rule.  Not all people will love government.

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Kazakh Students Varied Thoughts on Stalin

After reading part of the first chapter “Apples are from Kazakhstan” by Christopher Robbins to my class, I quizzed my students on vocabulary words such as arable, detractors, diatribe, eradicate, nemesis, ostentatious, sacrosanct, protégé, etc.  Another part of the quiz I got responses to the question: What are your thoughts on Joseph Stalin and whether he was generally good for the citizens of Kazakhstan or bad.  If he had not been ruler for 30 years in the Soviet Union, how do you think you and your family’s life would be different now?

 

A. E. Joseph Stalin was such kind of man who was not interested in other people’s lives.  He was very selfish one.  Only what he said must be true.  The same was in the case of Vavilov.  Stalin just destroyed him.  Vavilov was very good agriculturist, he knew a lot about Kazakhstan, about Kazakh land, but what he knew didn’t make sense to Stalin.

By the way, I think that politics of Joseph Stalin wasn’t good for Kazakh people because he destroyed the culture of this nation.  As we all know, Kazakh have a very strong culture and destroying was very critical for Kazakh people.

And what about living conditions, if he [Stalin] had not been ruling for 30 years, in my point of view, the living conditions would be better.  Because the time of Stalin control stopped the spread of globalization in USSR, which is not very good for people as for economy of the country.

In conclusion, I want to say that life could be better.

 

R. A. – There are a lot of contradictable opinions about Joseph Stalin.  Some people would say that he was very cruel leader and that his regime killed too many innocent people.  But we the citizens of post-Soviet countries shouldn’t forget about Great Patriotic War and his contribution to victory of Soviet people over Fascist invaders.  Maybe, if he [Stalin] hadn’t such an enormous power, Soviet people wouldn’t be so united and wouldn’t have won the war.

 

A. I. In the totalitarian world, of course, he was the best as the ruler.  But he was like an Evil for the people.  He had an absolutely power in that regime and all Soviet people had to some kind of worship him.  Anyway everybody thought that they couldn’t survive without him.  He was like a God in USSR.

 

A. B: I think Joseph Stalin was brutal tyrant.  He had only military ideas in his mind and he would stop at nothing in order to reach his goal.  He was rather bad for KZ.  We would have a better life.

 

Z. S. My personal opinion about Stalin changed when I was 17.  Before that I always thought that he was a very strong, powerful and just leader, during whose ruling life in the USSR was controlled but calm, people were not afraid of robbery or murder, everyone could get a job and etc.  Only when I was 17 and I was in the U.S. and further when I came back and talked to many historians both at our university and other KZ universities, I found out the truth.  The fact that at those times life was calm and determined it was the consequences of all the horrible things he had done like collectivization, famine, repressions and many more things.  Only he himself killed so many people which only a war could do.

I understand older people still wish he was alive and we were living under communist regime, but this is only one side looking to issue, maybe because they haven’t seen another style of living and even if they did (current KZ, where everything such as wealth is in the hands of a few people), they did not like it.

 

A. T: Generally Stalin was not as perfect for KZ citizens, on the other hand, the policy which was provided was not so bad, I mean the policy of concentration citizens of cities or “auls” (villages).  It is not a secret that Kazakhs at the beginning of the century was without any education and towns and villages make the education possible.  But the ideas of the policy was “killed” by their realization.  Repressions killed a lot of Kazakh peoples, who can’t live in an urban area.  I think that without Soviet policy, it was a chance that KZ now could be like a Mongolia or Kyrgyzstan, fully nomadic or non developed or even developing country.  Soviet policy make a good base of developing for KZ now.

 

K. V. I think that Stalin was strictive man.  All those bad things that he did were done by thinking.  He killed many people that did not deserve death.  And without Stalin and his strong character USSR wouldn’t won the WWII.  As someone said in the class, when Stalin died, many people were crying, because they felt strength of Stalin, and when he gone they frightened, because they didn’t imagine life without “this cruel man.” There are many people who hate Stalin and they have their own reasons.

 

Y. K. – Joseph Stalin was not the best ruler of people, USSR, he made a lot of bad things, killed a lot of people, however, USSR won the World War II, and one of the main reason of that was that the ruler was Stalin, psychologists think that only he could win Hitler.  So if Stalin had not been a ruler, we might not sit in this class now.  Sure, after the war, it was really hard to rebirth the country, all economy production, and a lot of people died as victims, but who knows, if it was another ruler would it be better or not?

Stalin was very smart, but as we know, authority spoils everyone.  People loved him, they were really happy that they were ruled by him.  So I cannot say whether my life could be better or worse, it is simply could be no me and not my family now.

 

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Uighur Grandmother – “Be Ready to Serve Your People”

Right now I am just 19 and I already don’t have either a grandfather or a grandmother.   However the situation was different just a few years ago, at that time my mom’s mother lived with us.  Her name was Aimkhan.  She was a very beautiful and kind woman.  She had 11 children, the youngest of which is my mother.  As long as I remember myself, grandmother had always lived with us. She lived a long life, so she always had something to tell.  My grandmother and her family were born in Eastern Turkistan (Xingjiang Uygur Autonomous Region) Kashgar city, but due to political reasons she had to migrate to Kyrgyzstan.  However she always told us stories and reminisced time in Kashgar.  One of my favorite stories is the one about heroes of Uighur nation.

 

         My grandmother got married when she was very young and my grandfather’s family was in politics. At that time after already failing one attempt to declare an independence Uighurs were preparing for a next try.  My grandfather’s cousin, whose name was Abdukerim Abbas was the head of the government of the unrecognized country.  According to the international rights in order for a country to be sovereign its independence has to be recognised by at least 3 countries.  Joseph Stalin, general secretary of the communist party of the USSR made the Clayton’s promise to be the first to extend recognition to a state.  Feeling very excited and glad about the possible future declaration of independence Abdukerim Abbas and all his delegates got aboard of a helicopter heading to Moscow.

 

The flight went all right but when they landed at the Moscow the situation went out of control.  As soon as they step on the ground they were taken to the KGB’s head office on the Lubyanka and tortured by the Russian agents until the death.  As for the Uighur people in China who were looking forward to coming their liberators back home both Moscow and Beijing prepared another version of what has happened that days.  For a long time people in XingZang couldn’t get in touch with anybody who went to Moscow on that  fatal plane.  Just as time passed it was announced that the plane was wrecked and no one survived.  It was clear for everybody that what happened to Abdukerim Abbas and his people wasn’t just an incident but people were too afraid to do anything.  Since this news flew across, my grandmother and her family had 24 hours to pack all their belongings and leave their homeland forever.  And this is the starting point when a great number of Uighur people emigrated to all Central Asian countries.

 

         At the end of this story grandmother liked to repeat “Always be ready to serve your people”. Unfortunately she had never come back to the Kashgar and never knew what happened to her house, neighbors and people she knew.  One of the things brought from Kashgar in 1960 was an album with pictures of Abdukerim Abbas and other members of the family.  I always feel proud to be a part of our family.  

by Makhfirat

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Solzhenitsyn’s Purpose According to Natalya

Q: “Life given back to me has not been mine in the full sense: it is built around a purpose,” he [Solzhenitsyn] wrote.  What in your [Natalya Solzhenitsyn] view, has been the core of that purpose?

A: “He himself saw it this way, that God spared him, life was preserved for him, he was not killed in the camps, he was not killed in the army, or by cancer.  Concurrently, he was a witness.  He was born in 1918—born at the same time as the Revolution.  His life mirrored, took place in parallel with, the life of Russia after the Revolution.  He was an unprotected grain in that movement and subject to the wild squalls of Soviet history that he experienced no less than any denizen of that country.  Yet he did not perish, while so many others perished.  He felt it a duty to speak for them, to what he had seen.  He survived, others did not.

For many years he feared greatly he would run out of time, and that is why he did not spare himself, worked tirelessly, and without ceasing.  For some years now he feels a great sense of liberation, and that he has fulfilled in time the chief purpose of his life.”

“Natalya Solzhenitsyn on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn” Center News, Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, No. 110, Fall 2007.

 

The following is from my former pastor’s blog in Minneapolis, Minnesota:

Thank You, Lord, for Solzhenitsyn

August 4, 2008  |  By: John Piper
Category: Commentary

Yesterday Alexander Solzhenitsyn died at the age of 89. I pause here on my vacation in the woods of Wisconsin to say, Thank you, heavenly Father, for the inspiration of this man’s life.

No one did more than Solzhenitsyn to expose the horrors of the failed communist experiment in Russia. Hitler’s purge would pale, if such things could pale, when compared to ten times the carnage in Stalin’s gulags.

Solzhenitsyn inspired me because of the suffering he endured and the effect it had on him. Here is the quote that I have not forgotten. It moves me deeply to this day. After his imprisonment in the Russian gulag of Joseph Stalin’s “corrective labor camps” Solzhenitsyn wrote:

It was granted to me to carry away from my prison years on my bent back, which nearly broke beneath its load, this essential experience: how a human being becomes evil and how good. In the intoxication of youthful successes I had felt myself to be infallible, and I was therefore cruel. In the surfeit of power I was a murderer and an oppressor. In my most evil moments I was convinced that I was doing good, and I was well supplied with systematic arguments. It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either—but right through every human heart—and through all human hearts…. That is why I turn back to the years of my imprisonment and say, sometimes to the astonishment of those about me: “Bless you, prison!” I…have served enough time there. I nourished my soul there, and I say without hesitation: “Bless you, prison, for having been in my life!” (The Gulag Archipelago: 1918-1956, Vol. 2, 615-617)

O that I would be done with murmuring against my tiny prisons. Lord, grant me greater faith to live in the coming day when I will say, “Bless you, all hardship and pain! You have cut me off from the death of prosperous idolatry again and again.”

Thank you, God, for the life and work of Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

 

 

 

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