Remember the Berlin Wall's fall
Former President Ronald Reagan uttered, "We believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace" moments before he famously implored Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. His request would be brought to fruition less than two years later, and this Monday marked the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall and the extinction of Soviet Russia.
Aside from the creation and destruction of a mock Berlin Wall, organized by the Young Americans for Liberty at Rutgers, the University did little to mark this historic occasion, a day in history that will be remembered by many as the symbolic end to a totalitarian restrictive state, and a momentous victory for liberty and prosperity.
While it is apparent that most students on campus, have little if any knowledge of the events of November Nov. 9, 1989,; it is students who should be most appreciative on for this significant day in Historyhistory. It was students who in Soviet Russia who were limited and propagated by the Communist government. ; iIt was students whose views were suppressed and minds were brainwashed into believing that their government existed to service their needs.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the brutal regime, physically and mentally tortured millions,. Sending sending "traitors" or dissenters to the Gulag, who would then decide whether or not to send the prisoner to one of over 450 labor camps or kill them on the spot. In most cases those killed on the spot were better off, then than those sent to work camps in the arctic and subarctic regions of Russia; , many of which would disappear forever.
These ghastly policies existed for more than 70 years, with some scholars estimating that the victims of these communist policies could be in the upwards of 60 million lives lost. Imagine more than 2,400 government related deaths a day, every day, for more than 70 years. While President Barack Obama found it fitting to skip the 20th anniversary ceremony in Berlin last Monday, his puerile decision should more notably be highlighted by the disconnect Americans and, more importantly, the youth of America feel toward the liberties that U.S. citizens posses.
Students gleefully parade around in Che Guevara apparel, commemorating the murderer whose role models were Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Karl Marx. I have never experienced more irony than seeing participants of peace rallies condemning the use of American military force yet sporting the image of a man who is responsible for the death and disappearance of millions of people. These people should really be carrying signs saying, "No more war…unless you're a sociopathic Marxist revolutionary."
It was only 20 years ago that the Iron Curtain fell; only 20 years since the collapse of the greatest threat to American peace, security and prosperity. But students today who were either too young to remember or were not alive to witness the fall of the Berlin Wall feel as if the demise of communism had no direct influence on their lives.
The youth of today are primarily liberal and have been spoiled by the toil and free markets that produced unfathomable wealth and prosperity in the world, all while supporting policies that counterbalance the real change former Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Reagan brought to the United States and the rest of the world. They support tax increases, fair trade and big government. But I have a question for the liberal students at the University. How many of you possess cell phones or computers? How many students enjoy the leisure of the Internet or television? Soviet Russia crumbled 20 years ago this week, but communist strangleholds on nations, media and economies still thrive throughout the world.
Cuba first lifted its ban on cell phones last year, with cell phone contracts costing in the upwards of $120 a year, or six months worth of an average Cuban salary. Integrate the cost of the actual phone and credits needed to make and receive phone calls and a Cuban could be looking at spending an entire year's worth of wages on one cell phone.
Chinese leaders censor Internet access and religious worship, while Hugo Chavez of Venezuela censors and intimidates media and political opponents. If these instances of liberty were absent in the United States students would be up in arms, but since the Cold War has ended Americans no longer look at these forces of evil as prevalent human rights issues.
Students need to realize that while we prosper under the light of liberty, free markets and hard work, people all over the world are denied the basic rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If we do not acknowledge the past and strive to make sure that similar atrocities never happen again, then the 100 million victims — and more — of communism will have died in vain.
The U.S. celebrates D-Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the establishment of the United States of America. These are all days that signify hope, a new tomorrow and the chance to mend relationships and pursue prosperity. We should also commemorate the end of the Cold War, if not for the joy of seeing tyranny topple and freedom prevail then for the sheer reminder that "freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction," as Reagan said. "We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States, where men were free."
Aaron Marcus is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student. He can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.