Three events are taking place at the same time that sharply highlight some very worrying trends: the loss of memory, the erosion of history, the assault on freedom, and the descent into tyranny. The three are: the reaction to Trump’s UK visit; the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre; and the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
There is a relationship between these three things, and what we find happening to Trump today does have a connection with what has gone before – but what so many folks have clearly forgotten about. So let me look at each of these episodes – in reverse order.
75 years ago today we had the first great moves in the liberation of Europe and the end of WWII. D-Day was the beginning of the end for Nazi-occupied Europe, and the blood shed back then was the price we needed to pay for freedom. I have provided some of the details of this momentous day in an earlier article:
For those of you perhaps too young to recall the major details of this momentous day, let me pass on this brief account of some of the amazing facts and figures:
“The assault was conducted in two phases: an airborne assault landing of 24,000 British, American, Canadian and Free French airborne troops shortly after midnight, and an amphibious landing of Allied infantry and armoured divisions on the coast of France commencing at 6.30 am. The operation was the largest amphibious invasion in world history, with over 160,000 troops landing on 6 June 1944 – and 195,700 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel in over 5,000 ships were involved.
“The invasion required the transport of soldiers and material from the United Kingdom by troop-laden aircraft and ships, the assault landings, air support, naval interdiction of the English Channel and naval fire-support. The landings took place along a 50-mile (80 km) stretch of the Normandy coast divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.
“Approximately 10,000 allies were injured or killed – 6,603 American, of which 2,499 were fatal, 2,700 UK soldiers and 1,074 Canadians, of which 359 fatal. Between 4,000 and 9,000 German troops were killed – and it proved the pivotal moment of the war, in the allied forces’ favour.”
This of course was just the beginning, and horrific and costly fighting would take place for an entire year, before Victory in Europe was finally declared on May 8, 1945. So much blood was to be spilled during this year – so many lives lost.
But the future of the free world was at stake, and there simply was no other option. Either Hitler was fought to the last breath, or the entire world would be enslaved by Nazi tyranny. There was no place for sitting on the fence here. One either fought, or one effectively caved in to the other side.
Thirty years ago we had the terrible Chinese crackdown on freedom fighters, with hundreds, even thousands, losing their lives. While many have forgotten all this, one of the most memorable events that the whole world got to see back then was the one brave man standing alone in front of a group of tanks. As I wrote in a piece some years ago:
Hopefully none of us have forgotten those stirring moments. I recall watching these images on television back in the US. It was riveting viewing. We all so hoped that a real revolution of freedom would take place there. A few months later we did see it happen elsewhere, as we witnessed the wall come crashing down in Berlin. But it was not to be in China. The most famous photos of all of course featured the lone protestor standing in front of a column of oncoming tanks. Incredibly those tanks – which could have crushed him in a second – slowed and veered. The power of one!
The power of one. But most Chinese today know nothing about the man, or the uprising. As one recent news item puts it:
Thirty years after the government’s crackdown on students who filled the square demanding democratic reform, many young students today have never seen the photo. Those who have seen it are reluctant to discuss it in public. In 1989, the main student district in Beijing’s north-west, Haidian, was a hotbed of political action.
But today’s students have grown up under a government that refuses to teach the history of the Tiananmen Square uprising — referred to in China as “June 4th”. The government strictly censors public discussion of Tiananmen and goes to great lengths to scrub references to it from the internet.
“I think I only have a vague impression of what June 4th is about. It’s rarely talked about in China and I didn’t learn it in history textbooks,” said a 24-year-old journalism student who wanted to be called Lily. “I have no idea what the event was like, or what happened exactly. I only know that maybe the Chinese government did something horrible to the protesters, I think June 4th is about that, right?”
And the death toll from that tragic time may be much higher than many have thought. Another recent piece speaks of at least 10,000 people who were massacred:
The death toll from the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre was at least 10,000 people, killed by a Chinese army unit whose troops were likened to “primitives”, a secret British diplomatic cable alleged. The newly declassified document, written little more than 24 hours after the massacre, gives a much higher death toll than the most commonly used estimates which only go up to about 3,000.
It also provides horrific detail of the massacre, alleging that wounded female students were bayoneted as they begged for their lives, human remains were “hosed down the drains”, and a mother was shot as she tried to go to the aid of her injured three-year-old daughter.
Sadly China is now even more repressive than back then. The war on Christianity is especially horrific. So the fight for freedom -including religious freedom – continues. So too does the fight to preserve history. And that leads us to the UK today.
Trump in the UK
My third event is of course President Donald Trump’s current visit to the UK. As the mainstream media has been happy to show us over the past few days, loony leftists and communists have taken to the streets to protest his presence there. And the Muslim mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, made it clear that Trump was not wanted. This is so incredible on so many levels.
It was the aid of America that helped to keep the UK free and helped to turn the tide in WWII. Indeed, these two great nations led the way in defeating Hitler and the Nazis. But now we have leftist political leaders like Jeremy Corbyn seeing Trump as the enemy, while cosying up to genuine dictators like those now ruling China.
Such is the madness – and the historical amnesia – of the left today: hating on America and the West while lauding every ugly thug and tyrant, be they in Venezuela, China or the Middle East. The left has lost all sight of history – and deliberately so. It prefers to rewrite history and whitewash the atrocities of various leftist dictatorships of the past and present.
Thankfully the Queen ignored all the leftist mobs and graciously received Trump. And many of the commoners also heartily welcomed him, including the millions of Brexiters who are still waiting to see the UK cut free from the shackles of the EU. So not everyone has forgotten the lessons of history.
But the left in the West continues its campaign of obliterating history, just as the Chinese leadership today has wiped out entire portions of their own history. This is always how the totalitarians operate. As George Orwell put it in his dystopian novel, 1984:
“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except the endless present in which the party is always right.”
In his important 2005 book, Our Culture, What’s Left of It, Theodore Dalrymple spoke to this at length:
The object of such [revisionist] historiography is to disconnect everyone from a real sense of a living past and a living culture. Indeed, the underlying theme uniting the two great dystopias of the twentieth century [Huxley’s and Orwell’s] is the need to preserve a sense of history and cultural tradition if life is to be bearable….
In both dystopias (of Orwell and Huxley), people find themselves cut off from the past as a matter of deliberate policy. The revolution that brought about the Brave New World, says Mustapha Mond, was “accompanied by a campaign against the Past” – the closing of museums, the blowing up of historical monuments (as in the Taliban’s Afghanistan), the banning of old books. In 1984 “the past has been abolished.” “History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”
Such dystopian engineering is at work in my own country. By the deliberate decision of pedagogues, hundreds of thousands of children now leave school without knowing a single fact about their own country. The historical principles that museums have traditionally used to display art have given way to ahistorical thematic displays – portraits of women from a jumble of eras, say. A meaningless glass box now sits on a pediment in London’s Trafalgar Square as a “corrective” to the famous associations of that famous urban space. A population is being deliberately created with no sense of history.
And even a hardcore feminist and social critic like Camille Paglia gets it:
What has happened is these young people now getting to college have no sense of history – of any kind! No sense of history. No world geography. No sense of the violence and the barbarities of history. So, they think that the whole world has always been like this, a kind of nice, comfortable world where you can go to the store and get orange juice and milk, and you can turn on the water and the hot water comes out. They have no sense whatever of the destruction, of the great civilizations that rose and fell, and so on – and how arrogant people get when they’re in a comfortable civilization. They now have been taught to look around them to see defects in America – which is the freest country in the history of the world – and to feel that somehow America is the source of all evil in the universe, and it’s because they’ve never been exposed to the actual evil of the history of humanity. They know nothing!
This in large measure explains the mindless reactions of mobs of leftists on the streets of London. They know nothing of history and so are now fully doomed to repeat its mistakes. And the tyrants and dictators love it this way. This makes their job so much easier.
Indeed, I am surprised that we are still hearing anything at all about D-Day and Tiananmen Square. How much longer before these events too disappear from our collective memory? As Orwell also warned, “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”