The defeat of evil empires can take different forms


National Post, 31 May 2019

Thoughts on three anniversaries: the Tiananmen Square massacre and Poland's first free elections on June 4, and D-Day on June 6

Three anniversaries next week will get major international attention: the 75th anniversary of D-Day on June 6, and the 30th anniversaries of the Tiananmen Square massacre and the first free Polish elections, both on June 4. They have something to teach us about revolutionary change.

The anniversary of D-Day has actually become something of thing in itself, because in 1984 at the 40th anniversary, president Ronald Reagan delivered one of the greatest speeches in a lifetime littered with them.

“Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved and the world prayed for its rescue,” Reagan began. “Here in Normandy the rescue began.”

“The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next,” he continued. “It was the deep knowledge — and pray God we have not lost it — that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest.”

The twin anniversaries on June 4 illustrate this, and that moral witness itself can be a powerful force.

On June 4, 1989, the guns of the Chinese communists were turned on the Chinese people demonstrating for their liberties. The face of communism — arbitrary, totalitarian, bloodthirsty — was revealed yet again. A few hours after thousands of corpses were pulverized by the tanks of the “People’s Liberation” Army in Tiananmen Square, Polish citizens participated in the first free elections since Stalin had imposed communism on Poland in 1945. Solidarity, the labour union turned social movement become a political party, won every seat it contested. Within six months, the communists would be expelled entirely. Poland would be free and the metaphorical dominoes began to fall. The Berlin Wall would literally fall.

Tiananmen Square remains a bloodstain on the heroic year 1989, a year of hope and freedom. Thirty years later, China is still ruled by an evil and bloody regime, guilty even today of human rights violations that rival that of the Soviet gulag state. More than a million Uighur Muslims are imprisoned in concentration camps in China’s western provinces, subject to religious persecution and “re-education.” In recent weeks, the Chinese regime has prevented any of its residents from getting access to Wikipedia, lest they read anything about the massacre at Tiananmen Square. The tyranny is applied both massively and specifically; Canadian citizens are on death row, victims of China’s diabolical diplomacy.

Why did China murder its citizens in 1989, while in Poland the communist regime negotiated with its protesting citizens, resulting in free elections? You have go back another 10 years.

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