The Movie “Mr. Jones” Shows the Results of Communism

 

An orange is the only color in the scene. On a train bound for the hinterlands of the Ukraine, Gareth Jones sits among starving peasants. Stirrings of hunger prompt Mr. Jones to reach in his satchel for an orange. Every eye in the train car focuses on that piece of fruit. Mr. Jones, at this point in his journey, is unaware of the starvation being imposed on Ukrainians by Joseph Stalin. One orange, images a story Mr. Jones must tell. One courageous man. One cadre of self-serving Western journalists, covering the truth by silencing their pens. One megalomaniac dictator. One nation on the brink of starvation. One movie that will smash vapid idealistic visions of communism. If you want to know why history matters in the present, please watch Mr. Jones.

Mr. Jones displays exactly what happens when dictators subjugate a people and the journalists who are supposed to cover the story, silence their pens. Over one hundred million people died in the 20th century at the hands of despots. Many of these tyrants began their beliefs and practices based on atheism. To understand the 20th century, one must begin with naturalism, materialism, and yes, atheism. YouTube abounds with testimonies about the horrors. There are stories of some who hid others from discovery by jackbooted thugs, and some were spared bloodshed by Providence. Pick a dictator: Mao Zedong, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Castro, they are all cut from the same cloth.

It is important for students to know history, especially this history. Why is it important to defend one’s beliefs, essential documents, country, or ideals? Why have people died in defense of freedom? To what lengths would we now go to stand athwart oppressors? These are questions that haunt me for my children and grandchildren; I hope they do for yours as well.

For Truth in Two, this is Dr. Mark Eckel, president of the Comenius Institute, personally teaching history so that we might have a future.

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  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    This Mr. Jones. There are others with the same title.

    • #1
  2. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Happened to watch the movie several weeks ago, and highly recommend it. As it happens, I just got back from Kyiv.  While there I stumbled onto the National Museum of the Holodomor.

    Very moving and disturbing.  Modern museum with very well done video displays many in English , as well as some artifacts from the period.  Most touching and disturbing items were books of names from every Oblast in Ukraine with the names of the dead.

     

     

    • #2
  3. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Oh yeah.

    William Duranty burns in hell with his crush, Stalin.

    • #3
  4. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    Percival (View Comment):

    This Mr. Jones. There are others with the same title.

    Yes! I had to recheck my link in case there was a problem in the article! Thanks for punctuating the imdb page again!

    • #4
  5. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Wow! Thank you for the story and movie suggestion, and thank you Kozak for the pictures! I’m Ukrainian and Polish and only started learning about our family history later in life.

    I know my grandparents on both sides had to flee Europe for the US – my dad’s side from Ukraine. I don’t know alot about my mother’s side (Polish) as they were divorced when I was a baby and my aunt and dad raised me. Her family name was Golabiewski. I know nothing about my grandmother on my dad’s side – her name was Pazia (Pearl) Turko.  I can’t find a thing about her or even a picture. The original spelling of my dad’s family last name was Danylik, but was changed when my grandfather enrolled his kids in school I was told. (?)

    I know they all had a hard life.  It is all the more sinister, in our day and time, for the censorship and erasing of history because it wasn’t all pretty. You are right – that’s how we learn and not repeat it. To erase it doesn’t mean it can’t happen again. Glad you are teaching it!! One of the most powerful documentaries was Witness to Hope – about Pope John Paul II:

    https://vimeo.com/394709097

     

    • #5
  6. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Mark Eckel (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    This Mr. Jones. There are others with the same title.

    Yes! I had to recheck my link in case there was a problem in the article! Thanks for punctuating the imdb page again!

    My fault. I missed your link.

    • #6
  7. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    I thought Peter Saarsgard was fantastic as the utterly corrupt Walter Duranty.  The abuse that Jones and Malcolm Muggeridge took for reporting the truth is a disgrace that went unpunished.

    • #7
  8. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Particularly appropriate now.   This was the prototype disinformation campaign.    At the time, if you believed that Stalin had weaponised hunger and was systematically starving millions of Ukrainians to death you were some sort of anti-Soviet, tin foil hat conspiracy theorist.   The Grey Lady…the paper of record … the New York Times … had their man on the ground.    Duranty won the Pulitzer Prize for his on the scene reporting.  Duranty any the NYT were quick to tell you that no such thing was occurring in Ukraine.  Stalin was a forward thinking hero working tirelessly on behalf of the common man.   Anyone saying otherwise was spouting anti-Soviet propaganda.

    In 1932, he claimed that “there is no famine or actual starvation nor is there likely to be.” In 1933, Duranty reported that “The ‘famine’ is mostly bunk” and “any report of a famine in Russia is today an exaggeration or malignant propaganda.”

    The NYT eventually ran a half hearted apology, blaming Duranty’s reliance on official sources.   The Pulitzer committee never revoked Duranty’s award.   

     

    • #8
  9. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    Many thanks for posting. I was unaware of this film, and now will seek it out.

    • #9
  10. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    Particularly appropriate now. This was the prototype disinformation campaign. At the time, if you believed that Stalin had weaponised hunger and was systematically starving millions of Ukrainians to death you were some sort of anti-Soviet, tin foil hat conspiracy theorist. The Grey Lady…the paper of record … the New York Times … had their man on the ground. Duranty won the Pulitzer Prize for his on the scene reporting. Duranty any the NYT were quick to tell you that no such thing was occurring in Ukraine. Stalin was a forward thinking hero working tirelessly on behalf of the common man. Anyone saying otherwise was spouting anti-Soviet propaganda.

    In 1932, he claimed that “there is no famine or actual starvation nor is there likely to be.” In 1933, Duranty reported that “The ‘famine’ is mostly bunk” and “any report of a famine in Russia is today an exaggeration or malignant propaganda.”

    The NYT eventually ran a half hearted apology, blaming Duranty’s reliance on official sources. The Pulitzer committee never revoked Duranty’s award.

     

     

    An honorable NYT would return it, and publish a groveling editorial craving forgiveness. 

    And while I’m at it, I would really like a flying pony.

    • #10
  11. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Mark Eckel: Pick a dictator: Mao Zedong, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Castro, they are all cut from the same cloth.

    Mark, I don’t think that all dictators are cut from the same cloth.  You pick 5 bad ones, though I don’t think that Castro was nearly as bad as these others.  I can think of a dozen more who were not nearly as bad as these examples.

    You could start with the successors of Mao and Stalin, who did not kill nearly as many people.  Mussolini, Franco, Salazar, Marcos, Pinochet, Nasser, Sadat, the Shah, all come to mind.  Not nice guys, but not in the same league as the ones that you list.

    I’m not a fan of dictatorship, though dictatorial governments usually rely on some pretty broad public support and party mechanisms.  This was even true of Saddam Hussein.  Many countries don’t seem to be ready for representative government.  Perhaps they will be someday, perhaps not.  I don’t know.

    I don’t say this just to be contrarian.  I think that it is a big mistake to assume that any dictator is necessarily going to be a butcher on the scale of those you list (except maybe Castro, who was a small-time operator compared to the others you listed).  I think that such exaggeration leads to overreaction on our part.

    • #11
  12. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    It is estimated that approximately 140,000 Cubans lost their lives during the Castro regime, but as the quote attributed to Stalin; One man’s death is a tragedy, millions are merely a statistic. Firing squads, beaten to death, tortured, in Cuban prisons, as well as forced labor and dying due to malnutrition is small comfort to those that helped to produce the Socialist Worker’s Paradise of Cuba.

    The true number of the victims of the Castro regime may never be known, but that that won’t stop the useful idiot tourists that travel to Cuba, North Korea, or even China. One can soak in the Glorious Hot Tub of the Peoples Revolution, and later be lulled to sleep by the muffled gunshots of the firing squads.

    • #12
  13. Mikescapes Member
    Mikescapes
    @Mikescapes

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    It is estimated that approximately 140,000 Cubans lost their lives during the Castro regime, but as the quote attributed to Stalin; One man’s death is a tragedy, millions are merely a statistic. Firing squads, beaten to death, tortured, in Cuban prisons, as well as forced labor and dying due to malnutrition is small comfort to those that helped to produce the Socialist Worker’s Paradise of Cuba.

    The true number of the victims of the Castro regime may never be known, but that that won’t stop the useful idiot tourists that travel to Cuba, North Korea, or even China. One can soak in the Glorious Hot Tub of the Peoples Revolution, and later be lulled to sleep by the muffled gunshots of the firing squads.

    Cuba doesn’t have as many people as Ukraine, let alone Russia. According to your logic the bigger the population murdered, the higher the ranking of dictators. 

    • #13
  14. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Mikescapes (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    It is estimated that approximately 140,000 Cubans lost their lives during the Castro regime, but as the quote attributed to Stalin; One man’s death is a tragedy, millions are merely a statistic. Firing squads, beaten to death, tortured, in Cuban prisons, as well as forced labor and dying due to malnutrition is small comfort to those that helped to produce the Socialist Worker’s Paradise of Cuba.

    The true number of the victims of the Castro regime may never be known, but that that won’t stop the useful idiot tourists that travel to Cuba, North Korea, or even China. One can soak in the Glorious Hot Tub of the Peoples Revolution, and later be lulled to sleep by the muffled gunshots of the firing squads.

    Cuba doesn’t have as many people as Ukraine, let alone Russia. According to your logic the bigger the population murdered, the higher the ranking of dictators.

    My logic sees people as individuals, in other words there is no collective guilt, and there is no collective salvation. When I see American academics retire and build beachfront homes in Cuba, North Korea, or China then perhaps I’ll buy into the collective conscience.

    I’m not holding my breath until that day comes.

    • #14
  15. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Mark Eckel: Pick a dictator: Mao Zedong, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Castro, they are all cut from the same cloth.

    Mark, I don’t think that all dictators are cut from the same cloth. You pick 5 bad ones, though I don’t think that Castro was nearly as bad as these others. I can think of a dozen more who were not nearly as bad as these examples.

    You could start with the successors of Mao and Stalin, who did not kill nearly as many people. Mussolini, Franco, Salazar, Marcos, Pinochet, Nasser, Sadat, the Shah, all come to mind. Not nice guys, but not in the same league as the ones that you list.

    I’m not a fan of dictatorship, though dictatorial governments usually rely on some pretty broad public support and party mechanisms. This was even true of Saddam Hussein. Many countries don’t seem to be ready for representative government. Perhaps they will be someday, perhaps not. I don’t know.

    I don’t say this just to be contrarian. I think that it is a big mistake to assume that any dictator is necessarily going to be a butcher on the scale of those you list (except maybe Castro, who was a small-time operator compared to the others you listed). I think that such exaggeration leads to overreaction on our part.

    Dictators can do what they want and the more power they have, the more they can do and the bigger the country, the more power governors must have to govern from the top.   It’s all accident, chance, choice, cultural proclivities.    Compared to Hitler, Stalin or Castro, the US will be less harsh for most people, maybe for longer, but it’s hard to know how it will evolve in the absence of a vigorous representative system.  I’d guess inept, corrupt and vulnerable to more efficient dictators like China, which is probably what it’s all about.  If not we may sort it out over a few decades of decline.

    • #15
  16. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    It is estimated that approximately 140,000 Cubans lost their lives during the Castro regime, but as the quote attributed to Stalin; One man’s death is a tragedy, millions are merely a statistic. Firing squads, beaten to death, tortured, in Cuban prisons, as well as forced labor and dying due to malnutrition is small comfort to those that helped to produce the Socialist Worker’s Paradise of Cuba.

    The true number of the victims of the Castro regime may never be known, but that that won’t stop the useful idiot tourists that travel to Cuba, North Korea, or even China. One can soak in the Glorious Hot Tub of the Peoples Revolution, and later be lulled to sleep by the muffled gunshots of the firing squads.

    As many as 2,000,000 Cubans left the glories of Castro—that would be the equivalent of 60,000,000 leaving the US (as so many falsely promised to do if Trump was elected).

    • #16
  17. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Mark Eckel: Pick a dictator: Mao Zedong, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Castro, they are all cut from the same cloth.

    Mark, I don’t think that all dictators are cut from the same cloth. You pick 5 bad ones, though I don’t think that Castro was nearly as bad as these others. I can think of a dozen more who were not nearly as bad as these examples.

    You could start with the successors of Mao and Stalin, who did not kill nearly as many people. Mussolini, Franco, Salazar, Marcos, Pinochet, Nasser, Sadat, the Shah, all come to mind. Not nice guys, but not in the same league as the ones that you list.

    I’m not a fan of dictatorship, though dictatorial governments usually rely on some pretty broad public support and party mechanisms. This was even true of Saddam Hussein. Many countries don’t seem to be ready for representative government. Perhaps they will be someday, perhaps not. I don’t know.

    I don’t say this just to be contrarian. I think that it is a big mistake to assume that any dictator is necessarily going to be a butcher on the scale of those you list (except maybe Castro, who was a small-time operator compared to the others you listed). I think that such exaggeration leads to overreaction on our part.

    You do say it to be a contrarian – this is one dumb response.

    • #17
  18. colleenb Member
    colleenb
    @colleenb

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Mark Eckel: Pick a dictator: Mao Zedong, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Castro, they are all cut from the same cloth.

    Mark, I don’t think that all dictators are cut from the same cloth. You pick 5 bad ones, though I don’t think that Castro was nearly as bad as these others. I can think of a dozen more who were not nearly as bad as these examples.

    You could start with the successors of Mao and Stalin, who did not kill nearly as many people. Mussolini, Franco, Salazar, Marcos, Pinochet, Nasser, Sadat, the Shah, all come to mind. Not nice guys, but not in the same league as the ones that you list.

    I’m not a fan of dictatorship, though dictatorial governments usually rely on some pretty broad public support and party mechanisms. This was even true of Saddam Hussein. Many countries don’t seem to be ready for representative government. Perhaps they will be someday, perhaps not. I don’t know.

    I don’t say this just to be contrarian. I think that it is a big mistake to assume that any dictator is necessarily going to be a butcher on the scale of those you list (except maybe Castro, who was a small-time operator compared to the others you listed). I think that such exaggeration leads to overreaction on our part.

    My only caveat would be that Castro was small potatoes only because he was basically kept to his island and there just weren’t has many people to kill. Would like to know how much the Cubans destabilized the rest of Latin America and Africa with there actions. I bet there were a lot on people killed, etc, in those actions. But Fidel was working for the the common man right?

     

    • #18
  19. colleenb Member
    colleenb
    @colleenb

    Thanks Mark for this post. I just received the movie the other day so planning on watching it soon. Maybe over a time period as it is depressing. Thanks also to Kozak for his pictures and information.

    • #19
  20. Quinnie Member
    Quinnie
    @Quinnie

    I worked in Warsaw, Poland in the early 2000’s.   Our HR Director, who was a local Pole, shared many stories about her disgust with their country’s communist times.    I remember her telling me how for Christmas her parents would give she and her siblings an orange as a present.   A single orange.  

    • #20
  21. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Where is this movie available to see? It says it came out in 2019?  I looked for it on my DISH movie options – it was not there for even a rental.

    • #21
  22. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Where is this movie available to see? It says it came out in 2019? I looked for it on my DISH movie options – it was not there for even a rental.

    It is available if you have a subscription on Hulu and you can rent it at Amazon Prime for $3.

    • #22