It takes heroic Poland - and the truth about Katyn - to show us how evil Communism is
- View Sourcehttp://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/edwest/blog/2009/05/03/it_takes_heroic_poland__
_and_the_truth_about_katyn__to_show_us_how_evil_communism_is> It takes
heroic Poland - and the truth about Katyn - to show us how evil Communism is
Posted By: <http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/edwest> Ed West at May 3, 2009 at
01:24:00 [ <http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/edwest/blog/cat/general> General]
Posted in: <http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/go/category/view/Politics>
Politics , <http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/go/category/view/Arts> Arts
I'm an unashamed Polonophile. If you grew up in a certain kind of
Irish-British Catholic household in the 1980s, Poland was a heroic and
tragic fairytale kingdom that, having endured the neo-pagan Nazis, was now
held captive by the godless Soviets - and yet maintained its faith, chivarly
The story of medieval Christian chivalry battling against the monstrous
modernists had a Tokeinesque grandeur to it (or Lucasian, you could stay -
Star Wars has similar themes) and the election of John Paul II, and the
overthrow of the Communists in early 1989, was the end of the hero's
journey. The Evil Empire was destroyed.Katyn tells the truth about Communism
The Soviet Union was certainly evil and one its worst moments was Katyn, the
massacre of 12,000 Polish officers, policemen and intellectuals in April
1940. The Nazis discovered the bodies in 1943 but for some reason no one
believed them when they said they hadn't done it this time. Our Russians
maintained this lie and the West went along with it, as we went along with
Stalin's vicious colonisation of our ally.
The massacre, and the subsequent battle for the truth, is the subject of an
overwhelming new Polish film, <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0879843/> Katyn.
I went to a screening last week and, rarely for review screenings, there was
total silence afterwards. The audience was stunned
The last 20 minutes is incredibly powerful, certainly the most devastating
account of Communism's inhumanity I have ever seen. Without much melodrama
we see unarmed men being taken from trains to trucks and down into a bunker
and shot. Others are brought to the edge of the mass grave where their now
lifeless friends lie in piles, and shot in the back of the head. The men -
who have mothers and sisters and wives and daughters back home - say their
prayers and clutch their rosaries. Their executioners impassively murder
them and then share cigarettes, before burying the bodies and bayonetting
The horrors of Nazism are so well known they are part of the cultural
landscape. But even the wrongs committed by the West during the Cold War
have been endlessly chronicled in cinema, television and theatre. Compare
the number of films and plays about Senator McCarthy's victims (who lost
their careers) compared to productions about Beria and Stalin's victims (who
lost their lives).
It's because Western artists prefer not to tackle Left-wing tyrannies that
Communism has always been given an easy ride.
People walk around with CCCP football tops, wear Che T-shirts, or go
drinking in vodka bars called Revolution (an especially tasteless idea -
would the council allow me to open a Nazi-themed bar called Lebensraum?
Admittedly it would become a gay bar pretty soon). When David Beckham turned
up one day wearing an Adolf Eichmann T-shirt I thought maybe for one second
it was a protest about the casual way mass murderers are turned into icons
(what Mark in Peep Show calls the "ironic veneration of tyrants").
We shouldn't forget how bad the Soviet Union was, especially to heroic
Poland. Katyn is out on 19 June - watch it, and next time you see someone
wearing a Che T-shirt, punch them.
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