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Ken Pope: "Communist ideology has caused the death of 100 million people worldwide"

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With the aim of remembering the crimes committed under communism and projecting a view of the present and future of communism, the Center for Studies, Training and Social Analysis (CEU-CEFAS) and the CEU Institute of Historical Studies have organised the International Congress of Victims of Communism 'Voices for Freedom', to analyse the role of this ideology throughout history.

During the opening, professor Ken Pope, CEO of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (USA), recalled in his lecture '100 Million Murdered: The Importance of Memory in the Fight Against Communism' that "communism has caused the death of 100 million people worldwide, 65 from China and 2 million from Cambodia (25% of the population), among others".

Pope pointed out that the key to understanding communism lies in education. "This ideology is deeply rooted in youth and is not taught well or thoroughly to new generations, which is why Marx is perceived as a visionary, interpreted incorrectly. To eradicate this, it is necessary to remember all the problems it has caused and to teach it in school." He also emphasised that this system is not academically condemned as it should be, "in social and civic studies, communism is talked about in a very general way, not about its real implications".

Regarding the cultural battle currently taking place, and not only in the field of education, he remarked that "communism, the first thing it tries to do is to kill God and then the family, and to eradicate both aspects of people's lives. They want to destroy the concept of family and make the state provide everything for them". However, he stated, "the State can give you everything, but it can also take it away from you".

Over the two-day congress, participants reflected on the different countries that have suffered and continue to suffer under these regimes: China; the reconstruction of the countries that were under the domination of the USSR; the first cracks in the Wall: Yugoslavia, Hungary and Poland; or the far-left in Latin America: Argentina, Cuba and Venezuela. Testimonies were also heard from relatives of victims from the different communist countries.

Regarding China, dissident journalist Yuan Lee addressed the threat to human rights posed by the Asian country. "Communism is taking away our human dignity. The loss of human rights in China affects us all," he emphasised. During his speech, he wanted to raise awareness among attendees of the power of the Chinese Communist regime worldwide and stressed the importance of the media reporting what is happening, since "to stop communism, we have to understand it."

Communist whitewashing

With respect to the current situation, during a second day, the speakers agreed on the fact that there is a whitewashing of this ideology. Joanna Rak, professor of Political Culture at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Poland), stressed that "anti-democrats have found channels to interfere in political structures and we have to protect ourselves against this". Renato Cristin, professor of Philosophical Hermeneutics at the University of Trieste (Italy) and promoter of the 'Nuremberg Trial for Communism' appeal, pointed out that "communism is not dead either as an ideology or as a form of state, although it differs from previous regimes" and insisted that "whitewashing is a practice that communist regimes have always used to eliminate people or erase facts".

The president of SalL (Portugal), Alfonso Texeira, emphasised that "almost all offences to our fundamental freedoms: opinion, thought, religion, education, etc., have their origins in the communist environment in which we live. Communists are still trying to impose their revolution, now feminist, ecological, anti-religious and anti-Western tradition." This ideology "seeks to destroy the common sense of the Western society", he concluded. Finally, Hermann Tertsch, president of the Ibero-American ECR Group in the European Parliament and MEP (VOX), highlighted that "communists want to do away with concepts that have kept us and identified us as a civilisation" and added that "natural law as a concept is the only real equality that we should hold sacred and it is the first one that they have undermined".

Alfonso Bullón de Mendoza, president of the ACdP; Elio A. Gallego, director of CEU-CEFAS, and José Luis Orella, director of the CEU Chair of History, Memory and Identity, also took part in the opening ceremony, agreeing that it is necessary to remember the crimes committed under communist regimes in order to have a projection for the present and the future.

Palabras clave Communism History Ideologies China URSS