Earlier this week, my local Tea Party group (The Daisy Mountain Tea Party Patriots) had the privilege of listening to a panel of three people who had lived under separate totalitarian rule at some point in their lives. They discussed how they survived, as well as their appreciation of America and concerns for her safety today. The first speaker was Ms. Zina Brodovsky from the former Soviet Union.
Ms. Brodovsky moved to America 24 years ago, at the end of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. For a long time, she was indifferent to politics here in her new home (likely because the economy was much better and the Soviet Union was beginning to fall apart.) She said she was “brainwashed” in school to believe that “socialism and communism (were) all these great things.”
Of course, as she would later discover the hard way, she was lied to throughout her free education. People were starved and imprisoned in concentration camps. Essentially, everything belonged to the government, the only employer in the neighborhood. Overcrowded hospitals had absolutely no privacy, as Zina saw for herself when a close relative needed surgery. There was practically no medical care post-surgery, even though hospitals were free to use and medicine was relatively cheap. People would become so hungry that they would engage in cannibalism when necessary.
As a Jew in Siberia, Zina felt like she was singled out for public ridicule by the authorities. When she tried to leave in the 1980s with her 17 year old daughter, she witnessed the officials at the airport attempt to convince her daughter to stay behind; this could have been the most sickening event Zina witnessed, even though no one was physically hurt.
In her own words, communism was “an absolutely deadly, deadly, deadly movement” and “evil.” She said that “in reality, we didn’t have any freedom.” Essentially, “we were slaves.”
Needless to say, Zina is very grateful to be an American today. Unfortunately, she sees America embracing communism. Zina especially sees this in aspects of our way of life from health care to education. A teacher, she has seen that “American teachers brainwash Americans the same” like she was during her formidable years. In fact, she claimed that when explaining to a fellow (younger) teacher one time about how growing up in the USSR was really like, he looked at her like she was from another planet. In her opinion, such a reaction indicates how ignorant a lot of adults are about what is happening to our country as well.
Zina especially feels sorry for the Occupy Wall Street crowd, as she says that “they have no idea what they are asking for.” What they advocate for is “all bluff, myth, and lies…there is no such thing as social justice.” She stressed the need for more young people to participate in the Tea Party movement but fears that it is too late.
Throughout her talk, Zina teared up and was shaking. Clearly, it was not easy for her to come forward with her story; words probably couldn’t even begin to describe this difficulty. But I very much appreciated her telling us what it really was like living under totalitarianism, as I am sure almost every other audience member did.
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