As Kundera said:
The first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history. Then have somebody write new books, manufacture a new culture, invent a new history. Before long that nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was. The world around it will forget even faster.
…. For a brief period, the consensus was that the communist experiment had failed. Never again, said the postmodernists and historians. Never again, said the economists and political parties. Never again said the people of former communist countries. Never again.
In the 90s we believed we were living in a “post-mortem” era in which all the hidden graves of the 20th century would be exposed, the atrocities analyzed, the lessons learned. Lest we forget. We also thought we’d entered a time in which the Silicon Valley dream of digitizing all knowledge from the entire history of the printed and spoken word would lead us towards the infinite free library, the glass house of truth and the global village of free information flow. The future would be a time of endless remembrance and of great learning.
How wrong we were. The metaphor of the glass house has turned into that of the mirrored cube. The global village has collapsed into tribal info-warfare and the infinite library is now a war zone of battling conspiracy theories. The internet has become a tool of forgetting, not remembrance and the greatest area of amnesia is the subject that Milan Kundera spent his entire life trying to preserve, namely the horrors of communism.
Fast forward 20 years and never again has been forgotten. The Wall Street Journal in 2016 asked: “Is Communism Cool? Ask a Millennial.” Last year MIT Press published Communism for Kids and Teen Vogue ran an excited apologia for Communism. Tablet announced, with some concern, a “Cool Kid Communist Comeback.” On Twitter, there is new trend of people giving themselves communist-themed names: “Gothicommunist,” “Trans-Communist,” “Commie-Bitch,” “Eco-Communist.” The hammer and sickle flag has been re-appearing on campuses, at protests and on social media.
How could we have forgotten?….
Only one memorial to the Great Chinese Famine (UNDER MAO 30 TO 70 MILLION CHINESE WERE KILLED) is one made by hand out of bricks and tiles, located in the middle of a Chinese farmer’s privately-owned field.