rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

The Victims of Communism Memorial and selective empathy

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Image: Flickr/midiman

Canada loves its American reality show spinoffs. We had the Bachelor Canada, Top Chef Canada, and now Cold War Propaganda Canada. A multi-million dollar National Monument to Victims of Communism is scheduled for completion in Ottawa this fall. It will pay tribute to 100 million victims of communist regimes, apparently rounded to the nearest 100 million.

The problem is, these people weren’t killed by communism. They didn't lick the pages of a Karl Marx book and get poisoned to death. Most were killed by authoritarian states, not to advance communism, to advance the power of that state.

The Saudi Arabian government isn't communist, but they behead citizens in public for insulting Muhammad. They do that now. And they're an ally of Canada. I guess we're okay with it as long as they don't distribute the severed heads equally amongst the population. 

You can create a brutal, oppressive state with any ideology you want. You can have a capitalist-envirofascist-pro-Chipotle-anti-Taco-Bell-Coldplay-worshipping tyranny. When power gets too centralized, some ideology is used to justify it, powerless people get killed, and Coldplay potentially ascends unto heaven.

The Victims of Communism monument doesn't come from a place of genuine empathy. It's a political statement. To take one of many examples, a million of the people listed are Vietnamese. For each one of those deaths, seven tons of non-communist bombs were dropped by American planes during the Vietnam War. Those ones should at least have an asterisks in the shape of Henry Kissinger's head. And if you thought the Vietnam War was a noble cause maybe you should follow the example of the American army and destroy the monument so that you can save it.         

It's good to memorialize innocent victims of oppression, whether it's innocent victims of ruthless dictators, or flying death robots, or torture regimes. But shouldn't we prioritize the deaths of innocent people the Government of Canada was complicit in? If you're not sure what those might be, try Googling these subjects:

- 2004 Haitian coup d'état

- Indonesian occupation of East Timor

- Canadian mining in Latin America

And if you need a break from how depressing and infuriating those are, I suggest Googling "dog humps old lady very funny.” It's very funny. 


Image: Flickr/midiman

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.