Those new to this web site don’t remember, but for years, I wrote regularly of the evils of Communism, and other insane genocidal ideologies, none of which were even possible before the 20th Century brought technology that made totalitarianism and industrialized killing machines possible.
Most of my writings on this blog have been lost to time. But I read about, and wrote about, the Armenian Genocide, the Khmer Rouge, the multiple phases of Leninism, Maoism, Stalinism, the fools who worship Che Guevara, Solzhenitsyn and the Samizdat, and more. Also of course Hitler and the other fascists; my children’s grandparents grew up under Hitler and Stalin both in Poland. I even read the Black Book of Communism from cover to cover. I’ve spoken to people who survived the regimes in Hungary and Romania too. Also, while I rarely write about it, I probably know more about North Korea than almost anyone you know. (Almost. I haven’t actually been there.)
Thus when my Romanian friend Lucien Valsan sent me the story of the Pitesti Penitentiary, I thought it would just roll off my back. I would be sad and remember again how people are so ignorant they don’t know just how awful human societies can become. But I didn’t think I could be shaken and upset by any of it anymore.
You’d think I couldn’t be shaken. But then I read about Pitesti:
The purpose: “re-education” through physical and psychical destruction, the transformation of young people into atheists, into informers on their friends.
Examples of psychological torture: a) On Easter Night, prisoners who refused to make a total self-denunciation (to tell everything that they were supposed not to have declared during Securitate interrogations) are forced to take a “holy communion” of faecal matter; b) Those suspected of having concealed information about participants in anticommunist actions have their heads thrust by their torturers into chamber-pots full of urine; c) Prisoners are forced to spit in the mouth of their anticommunist leader, in order to force him to revenge himself by unmasking them; d) On Christmas Day, a prisoner is forced to go to stool on a bedpan, to “symbolise” the nativity of Christ, while the other political prisoners are forced to kneel and cross themselves before him.
“The delirious imagination of Turcanu [the head of the torturers – editor”s note] was unleashed above all when he was dealing with students who believed in God and who strove not to renounce their belief. Thus, some of them were “baptised” every morning: their heads were plunged into a bucket of urine and faecal matter, while those present chanted the rite of baptism. This went on until the contents of the bucket began to bubble. When the recalcitrant prisoner was on the point of drowning, he was pulled up, given a short respite in which to draw breath, and then submerged once again. One of those thus “baptised”, to whom the torture was systematically applied, acquired an automatic reflex that lasted for some two months: every morning he would go and plunge his own head in the bucket, much to the amusement of the re-educators.” – Virgil Ierunca, ibid.
Like I said, this was new to me, and I thought it would not upset me. But it managed to. It hit me like a punch to the gut.
And now today I listen to today’s “New Atheists” blame religion for all the ills of the world, people speak of religion as child abuse, wanting to tax churches, and take church charities and put them in secular hands, and I look at the seething contempt now popular toward those of traditional religious faith, and it all becomes more personal.
The truth is, atheists, you scare me more than all the Muslims in the world put together. Not because you advocate things like this, but because you pretend atheism has nothing to do with things like this. You won’t own atheism’s shit, but you expect every religious person in the world to answer for whatever crimes you hurl at us.
And when you lie and you say “it’s just not believing a sky fairy,” I hear your words in Stalin’s voice, with his charming smile like an uncle at Christmas.
And no, I’m not kidding.
But go on. Read about The Pitesti Phenomenon. And try to tell yourself this was just an aberration.
I’ll say a prayer for you and hope it wakes you up.