Stalin, the NYT and the Holodomor

Governments are not moral. Organizations of any kind are not moral entities. They exist as a group of like-minded people coming together to advance their vision. Perhaps it’s a company, seeking to provide a service, increase sales and lead to wealth; or maybe a government, the aim of which is always to exercise power over the people trapped within the national geography under their control. Non-profits might exist to fight for the whales or the cultural heritage of Route 66 or to convert more followers to their faith. Those singular aims cloud all other efforts; and the ends always justify the means (even if they pretend they don’t). People, however, can be moral and bring their spirit and values into their positions; they might refuse to follow immoral orders; they might push for policies which are more in line with our better angels; they could follow their hearts in eschewing the fruits of the evil spirit – wickedness, envy, greed, sloth, revenge.

But people are also corruptible, for we seek power, prestige, money, and above all the avoidance of pain and hardship. And as we come together, corruptible and all-powerful in our oppressive organizations, that is when things go really wrong.

Journalism is supposed to help us against all this. Its singular function is to shine a flashlight into the dark corners of the world. “If you’re not writing something that makes somebody angry, you’re not a journalist.” That’s all – no opinions or agendas, just what is going on, pointing out when organizations are doing things they probably shouldn’t. Certainly not to take sides with organizations against other organizations in misguided attempts at social engineering. The problem, of course, is that media organizations are too, after all, also organizations – so I suppose I should not be surprised that media organizations are also not moral entities. They too are at the service of their incentives: power… money… We hear a lot these days about “fake news”, when journalists find safety in amoral organizations to engage in immoral activities. Wickedness, this is called, like when the New York Times decided to carry water for the government of Joseph Stalin by managing a campaign of defamation and falsification to deny that the Holodomor was happening. Actively diverting the ‘flashlight’ away from the between 3.5 and 12 million Ukrainian’s dying of hunger. “There’s nothing to see here.”

“Mr. Jones”, a movie available for streaming on Amazon (I’ve become bored by Netflix and their attempts to socially engineer us as well – an organization with Obama and his culture war at the center of its mission, I should not be surprised…), is about the efforts of Gareth Jones, a young stringer (read self-published journalist) who goes up against Walter Duranty, the New York Times Moscow Bureau Director who is serving as Stalin’s mouthpiece in his propaganda efforts to silence the realities of soviet misrule. First of all, I was shocked that in this day and age this movie was even made. Showing the horrors of Stalin? Of socialism? Showing the New York Times involved in one of the greatest acts of “fake news” in history? That seems like something that might not make it into the light of day in this our “age of agendas”. Perhaps that’s why its not “free” on Netflix. It is, nevertheless, an extraordinary movie; because it is true. Gareth Jones did exist; he did slip into Ukraine to wander through the villages emptied out by famine; he did come into direct contact with cannibalism which was rampant during the dark winter of 1933 as people struggled to live, photographing Stalin’s atrocities; he did write about it; he was defamed and ridiculed by Duranty and the NYT; he was blackballed and eventually, at the age of 30, he was killed in Mongolia in suspicious circumstances – probably by Stalin’s agents. He, quite literally, suffered and died for the truth. Meanwhile Duranty didn’t even have his “Fake News” Pulitzer revoked. Sound about right????

A brief aside, something in the movie which was curious was Polish director Agnieszka Holland’s use of  George Orwell as a “framing device”, reading aloud his writing of “Animal Farm”.  “So are you to say there is no hope?” Orwell asks Jones, as they come together in one fictional scene – a sad moment of truth when Orwell seems to accept that socialism is one great criminal conspiracy foisted upon the weak-minded using ideas like ‘equality’ and ‘utopia’.

There are still communist famines today, brushed over by our days of pestilence. Venezuela, specifically, the latest “socialist” paradise which can’t manage to keep food on the table; the evil regime of first Chavez and now Maduro propped up also by the New York Times, by Michael Moore and Oliver Stone and Sean Penn and Danny Glover, and for the same reasons. Someday, there will even be a movie about Venezuela’s famine (I have written a two-part novel series, you can purchase it below – I wonder if anybody will ever dare to make a movie of my work? Obama’s Netflix surely won’t…) – when it is finally given a name. Holodomor means the “Hunger Plague” in Ukrainian; maybe Venezuela’s famine will be called the ”Maduro Diet”, given to us by the dictator himself “The Maduro diet makes you hard (…) without need for Viagra!” he once said – excuse the vulgarity, just quoting a head of state.

Yes, organizations are amoral entities. They respond to incentives. To this end, please go into your Amazon account and purchase for viewing a copy of Mr. Jones. Remind the world that though the New York Times may be complicit in the murder of millions of Ukrainians, we will honor them anyway by giving them two hours of our time and a $4.99 rental fee. Its the least we can do!!

About Joel D. Hirst

Joel D. Hirst is a novelist and a playwright. His most recently released work is "Dreams of the Defeated: A Play in Two Acts" about a political prisoner in a dystopian regime. His novels include "I, Charles, From the Camps" about the life of a young man in the African camps and "Lords of Misrule" about the making and unmaking of a jihadist in the Sahara. "The Lieutenant of San Porfirio" and its sequel "The Burning of San Porfirio" are about the rise and fall of socialist Venezuela (with magic).
This entry was posted in International Affairs, Movie Review, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Stalin, the NYT and the Holodomor

  1. michael.ronayne@verizon.net says:

    Joel,

    Great report; and, yes I am amazed it was produced! I will rent the movie and if I like it, buy the physical Region 1 DVD. From direct personal experience, Amazon is now obeying the orders of the book burners and are no longer reliable custodians of controversial media. The individual who forced Amazon to remove the content, which I recovered on behalf of the authors, has a very high probability of being the next AG of the United States.

    The good news is that in the underground, you have the opportunity to encounter some interesting people. But 60 years ago, when I first read Farenheit 451, I never thought I would be living it.

    Best Regards,

    Michael Ronayne Wanaque, NJ

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s