Is History Repeating Itself in Egypt?

Egyptian anti-government demonstrators hold a huge national flag as they gather in Cairo's Tahrir square on February 9, 2011 on the 16th day of consecutive protests calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak
article top

Egyptian anti-government demonstrators hold a huge national flag as they gather in Cairo's Tahrir square on February 9, 2011 on the 16th day of consecutive protests calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak

BY MICHAEL R. FOX PHD – Events in Egypt with Mubarak resigning and thousands of jubilant Egyptians in the streets have brought joy and hopefulness to people in Egypt and around the world.


We hear the siren words of freedom, liberty and justice from the Egyptians in the streets, while the media portray these events as joyous blessings and the end of a tyranny.

Perhaps. We seem to be, again, without any history context.  With more of this important context, the need for caution would be obvious.

For these words of freedom, liberty, justice (a supremely vague term) have all been heard before, and they did not lead to freedom, liberty, and justice.  Instead they led to worse tyranny, mass murder, decades of deprivation, and repression. As the saying goes, be careful of what you wish for.

While it appears that the Egyptian military, now in control of Egypt, may add political stability to this situation, it is certainly no guarantee of future freedom, liberty, and justice.  We’ve historically seen military forces directly involved with citizen repression. Remember the Cuban Revolution?

When Lenin came to power in Russia in 1917 he led the Bolsheviks and people in the Russian streets with inspiring words of hope, inspiration, freedom, and liberty (   Yet history has shown to all who can read history, that Lenin, and his successor Stalin, led the Russian people to decades of mass murder, deprivation, and phenomenal abuses.

After nearly a century under the communist rule of Lenin, Stalin, and their successors, many Russians spent their entire lives in the Soviet Union without ever knowing a day of freedom, liberty, and justice, those who weren’t killed, that is.  Whatever their personal lofty hopes and goals, millions lived their entire lives in the equivalent of a huge slave labor camp deprived of any of the promised freedoms.

The American communists of the day lied through their teeth about a workers’ paradise even after they saw the results themselves of mass murder and deprivation in Russia. They lied even after hearing the screams of the tortured in Lubyanka Prison. Paul Kengor has described some of the treasonous behavior of these un-American Americans (  How they could sympathetically view the mass murderers and slave masters Lenin and Stalin defies human understanding.

The behavior of the Western media was nearly as sympathetic, if not servile, to communist agendas of the American communists.  We are seeing some of this uncurious media coverage in Egypt as well today, reminiscent of the journalists of an earlier day.

Walter Duranty, a New York Times writer during the 1920s and 1930s, was breathtakingly dishonest in his coverage of the Soviet Union, as documented by Sally J. Taylor in her book entitled “Stalin’s Apologist”.  Duranty apparently saw himself as “prettifying” (Kengor’s word) Stalin’s mass murders and deportations of the Ukraine, and kept realistic and accurate descriptions from American readers.

John Earle Haynes and Harvey Klehr also wrote of this period of history in their book “Fools for Communism” ( As the reviewer Glenn Garvin wrote:  “Journalism, academia, policy wonkery: They all maintain well-oiled Orwellian memory holes, into which errors vanish without a trace. Stern pronouncements are hurled down like thunderbolts from Zeus, and, like Zeus, their authors are totally unaccountable to mere human beings”. Will journalism fail us again in Egypt?

There has been a lot of history written about this sorry state of journalistic affairs and their common sympathies with Communist Terror States. Robert Conquest wrote in detail of the great famine imposed by Stalin on Ukraine in the early 1930s.  His book “The Harvest of Sorrow”, describes the murders, deportations, deprivation, and suffering of the Ukrainians under Stalin (

Sometimes, starving parents requested that their starving children cannibalize their parents bodies after death to prolong the lives of the children.  Somehow, Duranty and the New York Times failed to report all of this to the American public.  Nevertheless, Duranty won the Pulitzer Prize for this massive cover-up of communist atrocities, and we are told that his picture still hangs in a place of honor in the New York Times office building. Duranty won great admiration from Stalin for his efforts.

Similarly, some of us recall the war against the tyrant Batista in Cuba, where an idealistic upstart fought, predictably, for freedom, liberty, and justice.  His name was Fidel Castro.  As with Stalin and Duranty Fidel enjoyed great admiration from the media.  Women and children cheered Castro’s success in the streets after Castro deposed Batista. Those magic words of freedom, liberty, and justice exempted Castro from any serious examination of his agenda for Cuba, until Castro showed his Marxist leanings.  Many Cuban military men fought alongside of Castro against Batista’s forces because they believed that there would actually be freedom, liberty, and justice for Cuba after Castro came to power.  History has shown that this was not to be.

Believing they were actually fighting for Cuban freedom, liberty, and justice, many of Castro’s military friends and colleagues were remorselessly betrayed, some executed, some sent to prison for years.  One of them was Armando Valladares.  In his book “Beyond All Hope”, Valladares describes in detail the incredible betrayals, abuses, tortures, and mass murders of Fidel and his regime (  Yet for 50 years the media, Hollywood, and the American Left have somehow not reported them as crimes against the Cubans themselves. Instead they continue to lionize Castro, portraying him as a victim. Imagine a mass murderer, torturer, and jailer, portrayed as a victim, incredible.

As with Walter Duranty being a media apologist for Stalin and Russian communism, the Cuban Revolution had its own American version of Duranty in the person of another New York Times author and Castro apologist Herbert Mathews (  Why we are not surprised.

Now the same patterns of revolutionary rapture are emerging in the media in Egypt.  We can only pray that it is real, and that freedom, liberty, and justice prevail. Anyone capable of uttering those magic words of freedom, liberty, and justice will  cause the media to soil themselves in hope and admiration.  It most certainly is too soon to see how this history plays out in Egypt, but some of the same patterns in media coverage are emerging. We don’t know the agendas and there is too little effort to learn them.

History has taught us some sad and deadly lessons about these revolutions.  One of them is that the killing of millions of a nation’s people is not sufficient for the left, Marxists, socialists, progressives, you name them, to discourage them from supporting such despotic regimes. Nor is the lack of freedom, liberty, and justice that the leaders promised.  There seems to be no limits in human suffering these people will not support so long as socialism/communism/despotism is being promoted.

Another lesson is that the media can often play a role in helping the despotic murderous leaders come to power, simply by not publicly reporting actual events on the ground.  Prettifying tyrants is also among these capabilities. A third lesson is that the mere utterance of those magic words, freedom, liberty, and justice from despotic leaders of the revolutions, is enough for the media, Hollywood, and the American left, (often distinctions without differences), to suspend belief and curiosity about potential disastrous outcomes.

Know your 20th century history and stay alert.