Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Introducing the Walter Duranty Awards for Aiding Tyrany

In 1932, Josef Stalin presided over one of the worst man made famines in world history. During the years 1932-1933, Ukrainian peasants, who were instrumental in making Ukraine the "breadbasket of Europe" were forced into a network of collective farms. They were completely stripped of all personal property, from agricultural implements to jewelry. They were left with no cushion against the displacement that would have occurred even during a well planned and consensual transition to collective farming.
The forced collectivisations were neither well planned nor consensual. They were strongly opposed by the Ukrainian farmers whose way of life was brutally disrupted. Anyone who attempted to hide personal property was liable to execution. The term for landed peasant "kulak", became a derisive epithet of the Stalinist regime to be hurled at the opponents of the new order. Deaths in this man made disaster were estimated to be between 2.5 and three million dead, with some estimates ranging far higher.
All this could have been expected to raise an international outcry. Fortunately for Stalin, and unfortunately for the people of Ukraine, Walter Duranty, the Moscow correspondent for the New York Times. Notoriously well fed by his Soviet hosts, Duranty filed glowing reports of the success of the collectivisation campaign. He was dismissive of reports of starvation that were far too widespread to ignore. Whether it was the opulence of his working conditions or twisted idealism, his reportage was a valuable instrument in the service of Stalin's regime. Indeed , he was widely criticised for being a mouthpiece for the Soviet Regime, even defending their show trials of alleged enemies of the state.
In 2008, there has been an economic meltdown in North Korea, resulting in famine conditions in this isolated country of twenty three million people. Estimates of deaths in this famine which plagued North Korea in the nineties as well as in this decade start at one million and go much higher. Indeed , the harsh economic conditions in that hermit kingdom have led to a surge of refugees into the part of communist China bordering North Korea. Video evidence smuggled out of North Korea gives vivid evidence of suffering far beyond the actual death toll.
It is in light of these two disasters, born of the same twisted ideology in different decades apart, that I view the recent visit of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra to the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea." (Say that with a straight face.) Without even addressing the Kim Jong Il regime's nuclear ambitions, their indifference to the suffering and death in their country is frightening.
It is in light of this that I present The Walter Duranty Coverup Award to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra for their disgusting whitewash of Kim Jong Il, the hereditary successor (Dear Leader) to his far more cunning father. (Great Leader)I would like to give an award of equal value to the banquet and publicity they received in Pyongyang, but the meager budget of this website leaves me little to offer. As consolation, I offer a map of the best dumpsters in Brooklyn, from which may be retrieved food that is far more than millions of North Koreans ever see. Perhaps the Orchestra should go on a dumpster tour in honor of the unfed millions in North Korea.
On a less sarcastic note I suggest that The distinguished Orchestra donate the profits from their massive photo op to humanitarian organisations working to assist the poor in North Korea
Copyright 2008 by Magdeburger Joe
Please click on title to this post to view a video on conditions in North Korea. It is number three of a set of five, but it shows the North korea not seen by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

No comments: