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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.