The Brightest, Most Glorious Day
posted by Bathus
From a Weekly Standard interview with Natan Sharansky, a Soveit dissident who spent thirteen years in a Siberian gulag:
Were there any particular Reagan moments that you can recall being sources of strength or encouragement to you and your colleagues?Sharansky reminds us that when Reagan called the Soviet Union an evil empire, "a long list of all the Western leaders . . . lined up to condemn the evil Reagan." (Reagan's critics also called him a "unilateralist" and complained that neocons were infesting his administration.) So when Bush called Iraq, Iran, and North Korea "the axis of evil," many of our "allies" fell into their familiar places in the same old line of appeasement. The names and the faces change, but the story remains the same. Orwell's Newspeak is not dead. But we'll win this one, too, and in ten or twenty years, you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone bragging about how they opposed "Bush's illegal war in Iraq."
I have to laugh. People who take freedom for granted, Ronald Reagan for granted, always ask such questions. Of course! It was the great brilliant moment when we learned that Ronald Reagan had proclaimed the Soviet Union an Evil Empire before the entire world. There was a long list of all the Western leaders who had lined up to condemn the evil Reagan for daring to call the great Soviet Union an evil empire right next to the front-page story about this dangerous, terrible man who wanted to take the world back to the dark days of the Cold War. This was the moment. It was the brightest, most glorious day. Finally a spade had been called a spade. Finally, Orwell's Newspeak was dead. President Reagan had from that moment made it impossible for anyone in the West to continue closing their eyes to the real nature of the Soviet Union.
It was one of the most important, freedom-affirming declarations, and we all instantly knew it. For us, that was the moment that really marked the end for them, and the beginning for us. The lie had been exposed and could never, ever be untold now. This was the end of Lenin's "Great October Bolshevik Revolution" and the beginning of a new revolution, a freedom revolution--Reagan's Revolution.
We were all in and out of punishment cells so often--me more than most--that we developed our own tapping language to communicate with each other between the walls. A secret code. We had to develop new communication methods to pass on this great, impossible news. We even used the toilets to tap on.