Walter Duranty won a 1932 Pulitzer Prize while serving as the New York Times' Moscow bureau chief from 1922-36. The posthumous return of the award has been demanded -- largely from Ukrainian-American groups -- because of Duranty's erroneous and mostly biased reports during 1931-33 denying Stalin's forced famine in the Ukraine, during which as many as seven million farmers died.
The following is, in my opinion, the worst piece of journalism ever committed to paper by a writer in Canadian history. It was written on October 11, 1960, smack in the middle of the greatest man-made famine in the history of mankind, Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward -- one that far surpassed anything achieved in terms of death and suffering by Stalin thirty years earlier. Taking place between 1959-61, Mao's pet agriculture project forced collectivization on the peasants of rural China, requiring them to plant their crops in specific ways which Mao -- who had never picked up a hoe in his life -- believed would dramatically increase yield. The Communist Party functionaries who oversaw production in the rural areas were eager to curry favor with their bosses back in the capital, so they reported glowing harvest results which, in turn, prompted demands from Peking for specific bushel counts as the state's share. Because the output had been greatly exaggerated, the Party's take represented virtually 100% of the yield, which was shipped off to silos far away from the farmers, who were left with nothing. It is estimated that between 30-80 million died of starvation while the grain storage bins were full to overflowing (much of which was exported so that Mao could report the success of communism on the world stage).The Canadian author of the following text will be revealed at the end.
The ancient enemy of China is hunger. It had been in occupation of the whole country for millennia; ten years ago it was still defying the people. Crouched before every door like a menacing dragon, it killed Chinese by tens of millions. Who was it that vanquished this implacable enemy? Mao.
That fact alone would be enough to explain the behaviour of this ancient civilization, which one would have expected either to vomit up Marxism or to assimilate it, as it has assimilated everything that has come from the foreigner. Mao conquered hunger, and told the Chinese that it was thanks to Marxism. Hence the Chinese put their trust in the regime.
It is not a matter of promises: control of the waters by dykes and dams, afforestation, reclamation of land, mechanization of agriculture, expansion of industry, and above all the bowl of rice or the loaf of bread on every table in China -- these are facts that each Chinese can verify at the ends of his chopsticks.
"Hold on a minute, please! Isn't famine raging in China at this very moment?"
Do you mean the famine in which the conservative press of the West takes such delight? The famine of which the Formosan government speaks with such cheerful compassion? It is true that dispatches from Hong Kong report a "shortage of provisions that in some districts verges on famine." It is true that during our journey people mentioned to us droughts in the south and floods in the north. That while there was "no rationing" there was "controlled distribution" of foodstuffs. All the same, it has to be acknowledged: it would take more than that to overturn the government of Mao Tse-tung.
The author was Pierre Elliot Trudeau (co-author Jacques Hebert), who later served for fourteen years as Canada's Liberal Prime Minister. Trudeau "never met a communist he didn't like," according to historian Jamie Glazov, and took delight during his tenure as Prime Minister in snubbing his nose at the United States by opening up ties with our hemisphere's very own totalitarian communist dictator, Fidel Castro, whom Trudeau palled around with on numerous occasions. The excerpt is taken from page 122 of Trudeau's and Hebert's book, Two Innocents in Red China.
Tony Kondaks, an ex-Montrealer now living in Mesa, Arizona, is the author of Why Canada Must End, which can be found in its entirety online at whycanadamustend.com.