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Peace and Security

Forum in Bratislava on the Velvet Revolution and Fall of Communism

Mr Milos Klas, Secretary General UPF Slovakia, opening the conferenceBratislava, Slovakia - During the last months there have been numerous conferences and media reports throughout Europe and the world about the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain. All reports omitted one important name: the Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, whom the Soviet daily Izvestya once labeled the world’s #1 Anti-Communist.

“No individual has invested so much effort and resources to resist the expansion of Communism and stop the atheistic ideology of Marxism as our founder did,” says Milos Klas, Secretary General of UPF-Slovakia.

To fill that gap, UPF-Slovakia organized an event on the theme of “The Iron Curtain: What Was That All About?” in the Slovak capital of Bratislava on November 24, 2009. Another leading motive was the fact that the awareness of Communism as a threat to human life and peace in the world is near zero nowadays in Slovakia. Especially young people have little idea what the Iron Curtain was, how the human rights were denied, etc.

The event took place in the beautiful Zichy Palace in the old town of Bratislava. At first a DVD was shown about the Iron Curtain which included haunting pictures of the deadly border in the early 1950s. The first speaker was Lubomir Morbacher from the Nation’s Memory Institute, which researches the crimes of Communism in former Czechoslovakia. Mr. Morbacher is a historian and co-author of such important books as The Iron Curtain and The Crimes of Communism in Slovakia. He said that many of the responsible officials have not yet been prosecuted even though they have caused great suffering. The majority of people who wanted to cross the Iron Curtain were arrested; all of them were sentenced to prison terms and persecuted even after their release. About 22,000 victims have been recorded; hundreds have died, and around 650 soldiers lost their lives while serving at the border.

 

Amb. Robert Harencar, chairman UPF Slovakia, greeting the guests Mr. Lubomir Morbacher, Nation´s Memory Institute

 

The next presentation, titled “The Role of the Western Media,” was given by Barbara Grabner, who worked as a journalist, writing articles for prominent Austrian magazines as well as the New York City Tribune. Her articles focused on environmental problems and the dissident movement in Communist countries. “The media played a key role since it helped to inform people on both sides of the Iron Curtain how the reality looked like.” Interviewing leading Slovak opposition leaders in October 1989, she was told that there was little chance for any change during the next decade. One month later the Velvet Revolution took place!

 

Mrs. Barbara Grabner, journalist Dr. Juraj Lajda, publisher, Prague

 

The third presentation was given by Dr. Juraj Lajda from Prague. His publishing company has translated the book March to Moscow by Thomas J. Ward and several books about U.S. president Ronald Reagan. Based on these books Dr. Lajda gave a fascinating account about “Why the Cold War ended without bloodshed.” His presentation focused on the era of Ronald Reagan and how he turned things around and won the struggle against the “Evil Empire” — steadily supported by spirited reporting of The Washington Times. As evidence, Dr. Lajda quoted the former presidents Reagan and Bush who thanked The Washington Times and Rev. Moon for their support.

Amb. Harencar in the discussionAt the end there was an animated discussion, and most guests agreed that the presentations were truly fascinating. The audience included many Ambassadors for Peace, important figures from government institutions, NGOs, churches, and others (some 60 participants).

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