Friday, August 29, 2008

Word

Just as the monster Grendel in Beowulf is unable to communicate in speech...so the Soviet system was self-indicted by its own putrid and paralyzing and unintelligible jargon. The invasion of Czechoslovakia was a "fraternal and peace-loving" action, aimed at "normalization" and "the restoration of order." Peaceful resistance by citizens in Prague was a "provocation." Protests from other democratic countries were no more than "heating up the Cold War." And behind this shabby, lifeless, wooden rhetoric was an arsenal of lies. Polish and Hungarian soldiers, rushed across the border under Red Army orders, were told that Czechoslovakia had been invaded by West German aggressors who had to be repelled. The only German soldiers they found were from East Germany, a state founded on the premise that no further invasions would ever be launched from German soil. In a very short and intense space of time, every slogan ever uttered by the Communist system had been exposed as the sort of scabrous lie in which only a fool could believe.
Christopher Hitchens, in Slate, remembers Prague Spring

1 comment:

PTET said...

Nice post.

Have you seen The Lives of Others? Chillingly brilliant bit of East Germany-ania.