Byline: Helle Dale, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Why don't we have a museum to the victims of communism in Washington? Is anything being done here? What can we do? Good questions. They have been asked by a number of readers who saw my column in this space last week, "Hungary's House of Terror."
That article described the opening on Feb. 24 of Budapest's new museum dedicated to the horrors committed by first the Nazi leadership and after that the communist secret police, both of whom were housed in the building at 60 Andrassy Boulevard, in Budapest. Judging by the crowd that turned out at the opening, which was officially estimated at 150,000, Hungarians are thirsting for the truth of what happened during the grim years of 1945 - '89. Nor should we forget.
As it happens, efforts are under way to create a memorial here in Washington, under the auspices of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Having such a monument in Washington is entirely appropriate, given America's role in fighting the Cold War. We have a memorial to the Holocaust, and there are plans for a memorial to the Armenian genocide. This city long ago became home to memorials of many kinds, and the victims of communism deserve no less.
Some 100 million people worldwide lost their lives to the ideological scourge of communism after 1917. They include the victims of Stalin's terror, mass deportations of entire nations and politically induced great famine; victims of the Chinese Revolution of 1949, and later the Cultural Revolution; victims of the Cambodian genocide; victims of the Latin American and Cuban civil wars; East and Central Europeans dying in the uprisings of 1953, 1956 and 1968 against their communist rulers. The list goes on and on.
But it is not just important to remember the victims. Let us not forget that 1.2 billion Chinese still live under the thumb of communist rulers; so do the people of North Korea and of Cuba. Former communists remain in positions of power and influence all over the former East Bloc. And on American university campuses, many of its apologists and fellow-travellers have retained their tenured positions. The foundation's president, Lee Edwards, has recently commissioned a study on the nexus between communism and terrorism. In other words, this cause is not simply talking about exposing the past.
On Dec. 17, 1993, Congress unanimously passed and President Clinton signed Public Law 103-199, authorizing the design, construction and operation of "an international …