In one of his short stories, Alexander Solzhenitsyn writes about a visit of Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt to a Gulag Prison. Millions of people died in these communist prisons in Siberia. Yet, the Russians staged a visit for Mrs. Roosevelt and had prisoners who told her how much they enjoy the prison and how greatly they were treated. Mrs. Roosevelt’s visit was a sad day in the lives of prisoners, yet the outside world knew that they were did not have it so bad.
When the Ceausescu regime in Romania collapsed in 1989 it was discovered that one in three persons were spying for the Romanian Secret Police. The Secret Police had family members spying on one another, priests betraying what was said to them in confessionals, and ministers spying on one another. Because of the spying web, when the Secret Police organized a demonstration against the Americans all the people went on the streets. To be absent from the demonstration meant that you were called the next day to document your excuse and very few were considered worthy of being absent from the staged event.
A couple of weeks ago I listened to a young journalist talking about what the citizens of Iran think about the USA. He found out that they are very close to their president. They hate Bush, the USA government, and are for international peace. The enthusiasm of the journalist believing that he had found the authentic voice of the people made me extremely sad.
Myopic vision of many journalists was seen in an interview in the 1980’s. An American journalist asked a Romanian citizen if he could hate the president of the country. The Romanian replied that this liberty had been given to him and all his countrymen by the constitution. We received this liberty since the communists came in. We are entitled to hate the President of the United States as much as we want!
Authentic truth is extremely difficult to find under a dictatorship run by imams or the communists. It is also very interesting that only the most oppressive governments constantly talk about the vast difference between the people and the government in other countries; a luxury that in their country is met by persecution, imprisonment and death.
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