Wednesday, February 6, 2013

And the Ravens Grew Fat

Walter Duranty
Walter Duranty, Stalin’s Propagandist
by Robert A. Waters

“One death,” Josef Stalin is said to have quipped, “is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.”  Researchers estimate that between 1931 and 1933, the Soviet dictator purposefully starved to death at least six to ten million Ukrainians.  The final number of deaths is unknown—as Nikita Kruschev said, “No one was keeping count.” 
New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty, stationed in Moscow, won fame, fortune, and a Pulitzer Prize for ignoring the slaughter.  As the bodies, too numerous to be buried, were stripped clean by ravens, Duranty hung out with Uncle Joe.  While freezing trains hauled thousands upon thousands of dissidents to the gulags, the journalist claimed it was their choice—they could have got with the program and handed their property over to the state. 

Anyway, it was all for the best, he claimed.  Once in place, the “collective farm system” (i.e., communism) would benefit everyone.  As for the millions who died: “You can’t make an omelet without cracking an egg,” Duranty said.

After it was too late for the world to intervene, Duranty privately conceded that ten million Ukrainians died of starvation.  Whatever the final tally, it was a massacre that even surpassed Hitler’s genocide.

Drinking, dining, and carousing with Moscow’s elite, the one-legged Duranty became Stalin’s unofficial spokesperson.  Like the Holocaust-deniers, he heard no evil, saw no evil, and reported no evil.  A Satanist, alcoholic, womanizer, pervert, and sycophant to the most brutal dictator in modern history, Duranty was an odious character.

So it makes perfect sense that he would receive the Pulitzer Prize.
The following verbal sketch, from The Ukrainian Museum in New York, describes the crimes perpetrated by Stalin: “The horrific event, known in Ukrainian as the Holodomor (literally, murder by starvation), took place in 1932-1933, less than twenty years after Ukraine was forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union. Determined to force all Ukrainian farmers onto collective farms, to crush the burgeoning national revival, and to forestall any calls for Ukraine's independence, the brutal Communist regime of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin embarked on a campaign to starve the Ukrainian people into submission.
“The Soviet government confiscated all the grain produced by Ukrainian farmers, withheld other foodstuffs, executed anyone trying to obtain food, and punished those who attempted to flee. As a result, in the land called the Breadbasket of Europe, millions of men, women, and children were starved to death.

“Stalin boasted privately that as many as 10 million people...had perished during the Holodomor. At least 3 million of the victims were children.

“Despite the magnitude of the atrocity, the Soviet regime, behind its Iron Curtain, denied the existence of the Holodomor for decades, denouncing any reports as ‘anti-Soviet propaganda.’ It was not until the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the subsequent establishment of an independent Ukraine that the contents of many sealed government archives were uncovered, exposing a wealth of gruesome information.”

While history hasn’t been kind to Uncle Joe’s mouthpiece, the Times refuses to return Walter Duranty’s tainted Pulitzer.

Eighty years later, it’s time to right that wrong, and consign this hack to the gulag of Literary Hell.

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