On Monday November 9, 2009 Prime Minister Stephen Harper attended a commemoration ceremony marking the 20th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
(Photo: Prime Minister Stephen Harper and German Ambassador Dr. Georg Witschel place a wreath in front of a section of the Berlin Wall at the Government Conference Centre to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Photo by Jason Ransom.)
The ceremony took place at the Government Conference Centre in Ottawa, where a piece of the Berlin Wall has been on public display since 1991. At the ceremony the Prime Minister announced that it will be moved to the Canadian War Museum where it will be available for public viewing.
For almost thirty years, the Berlin Wall separated East Germany from West Germany, a tangible symbol of the Iron Curtain between Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc. On November 9, 1989, the government of the former German Democratic Republic announced that travel restrictions had been lifted and that citizens could visit West Germany. In the following weeks and months, citizens began tearing down the concrete division and poured across the border, escaping Communism and finding freedom.
For Canada and its citizens (particularly those familiar with the atrocities committed in the name of communism), the fall of the Berlin Wall holds a special significance. It marked the culmination of forty years of foreign policy objectives pursued in partnership with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies. It also reminds us that Canada has welcomed tens of thousands of newcomers fleeing communist regimes.
In 1991, Germany gave Canada an original piece of the Berlin Wall measuring approximately one metre wide and more than three metres high.
“I am pleased to announce that this section of the Berlin Wall will be relocated to the Canadian War Museum as an important relic of the Cold War,” said the Prime Minister. “There, it will honour the men and women of the Canadian Forces who served during that confrontation. It will also complement the memorial to the Victims of Totalitarian Communism, planned for the capital region by Tribute to Liberty.”
Two organizations – Tribute to Liberty and its partner the Open Book group – are proposing to erect a commemorative monument to honour the approximately 100 million lives lost under Communist regimes. According to the organizers, the design and construction of the monument is expected to begin in the fall of 2010 and an unveiling ceremony is scheduled for November 2011.
The monument would recognize the experience of the many Canadians who emigrated to escape these repressive regimes and pay tribute to Canadian ideals of liberty, freedom, democracy and human rights. The monument is to be entitled Memorial to the Victims of Totalitarian Communism – Canada, a Land of Refuge.
Incidentally, the "totalitarian" in the name of the memorial is a result of pressure from thin-skinned communists who are (still!) unwilling to acknowledge the atrocities committed in the name of their ideology. They couldn't exactly stop this memorial from being built... these days no one interested in avoiding ridicule dares deny the irrefuatable evidence of atrocities committed by soviet and other communists.
So they demanded that the word "communism" be removed ... ostensibly to make it "inclusive" of all oppressive regimes. (Nothing like detraction to obfuscate irrefutable facts, eh?)
And of course, as fond of political correctness as many of my fellow Canadians are, this worked. They succeeded at getting a qualifier in front of the name... "totalitarian."
Which is fine. The redundant qualifier will just serve as reinforcement of the reality of what communism is. After a close-up look at communism's legacy, it's not likely any intelligent person would regard communism as anything but totalitarian. So those communists with nefarious agendas (and their many useful idiots) will be hoist with their own petard. Good for them.
Congratulations and godspeed to the organizers of this monument. It is long overdue.
To support this noble effort, go here.