The City of Brass and Judgement in Moscow

I recently reappeared on Zaklog the Great’s Book Club, to discuss Rudyard Kipling’s prophetic poem about the horrors of socialism, “The City of Brass”, which was written decades before the Soviet revolution in Russia and can be found here:

http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_cityofbrass.htm

Our discussion can be followed below:

On a related note, the book mentioned at the start and end of the discussion, Judgement in Moscow, is now available for sale in both kindle ebook and paperback format. My contribution to that massive project involving scores of people was merely to unify the style and polish the English of the various translations from the original Russian.

Written by legendary Russian dissident and human rights activist Vladimir Bukovsky with the help of thousands of top secret KGB and politburo documents smuggled out of their classified archives, Judgement in Moscow describes the various ways in which the Soviet elite manipulated, abused and deceived their own people, finding their propaganda to be far more successful with the international community than at home, with no shortage of willing collaborators in the West to spread and endorse their deceitful messages and knowingly or unknowingly work towards the Soviets’ foreign policy goals of total domination, as well as ensuring that billions of dollars of foreign aid would flow the Soviets’ way to prop up their regime, fund terrorist groups around the world and crush dissent at home. Filled with disturbing and sometimes amusing insights into the inner workings of the Soviet system and the insidious, bizarre mindset of party apparatchiks and members of the inner circle, it also follows the events that led to the downfall of the Soviet regime from their perspective as they clung to power tooth and nail, attempting deception on top of deception right to the end. There is a lot of information in this book that is not public knowledge, time and again many of my own misconceptions about the final years of the Soviet Union were shattered.

One major thrust of the book is about Nuremberg-style trials that were planned to take place, but through too much hesitation on the part of the immediate successor to the Supreme Soviet among other factors, they were reduced to a short-lived farce that didn’t resolve anything, and a supreme opportunity for Russia to heal properly was missed, with tragic consequences both for Russia and the wider world. In fact Bukovsky argues that this wasted chance to properly end the Cold War has resulted in it not ending at all, merely moving into a new phase, and when you see his reasoning, it’s hard to disagree. The many parallels to modern day events and movements will leave you uneasy.

Despite being a best seller in multiple languages, various major publishers succeeded in blocking the publication of this book in English for more than twenty years. One small human rights organization managed to gather together the people and resources to get it out there for the Anglosphere to see

Take a look for yourself to see what they were afraid you would find out, in paperback

or ebook format

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A Call Upon the Spirit

As the new year approaches, I am posting my entry to this year’s contest of the Society of Classical Poets, on their chosen themes of an open letter to the Library of Congress to restore the recognition of rhymed verse, warning against the dangers of socialism and defending the importance of beauty in art. A Call Upon the Spirit

There’s a call upon the spirit
Of the people of this land,
Each time their freedom’s threatened,
To lift their heads and stand

To fight against the tyrant,
And bring his hubris low;
To show we will not follow
Down the path he wants to go.

The siren song of envy,
That socialists employ,
Lures weak minds down the path of death
And robs the world of joy.

Sculpted, metered, rhyming verse
Is looked at with a sneer;
Higher thoughts and beauty
Are made to disappear.

Pure filth is praised as artistry,
Pure lies as brave and good,
‘Til every conscience has shut down
And every heart craves blood.

They long to lunge in lockstep
To skewer noble hearts;
Their violence always ‘justified’
Because it’s just the start

Of a new utopia
That never quite arrives;
So carry on the slaughter,
Who knows? You might survive.

Dehumanizing spitefulness
Takes its taxing toll;
People are God’s handiwork,
Not worthless lumps of coal

For feeding hellish fires on earth
To get your petty way;
Don’t gloat about such victories,
For soon will come the day

When the truth is known and all
Those plans have come to naught,
There won’t be any refunds
For the people that you bought.

Higher ways are open
To all those with eyes to see;
A glimpse of heaven has the power
To set your spirit free

To echo heroes from the past,
From their examples learn;
The greatest future you can make
Is one that you have earned;

To dig down to the bedrock
Of age-old, solid truth,
With which we can inspire all
The flower of our youth,

That they might stand amidst the storm,
Protect the weak and frail;
See through the lies of bullies,
Recover when they fail,

Regain their feet when worlds collapse,
Rebuild a nation strong,
Withstand temptations to conform
To simply get along.

Restore the place of worthy verse
With cadence and with rhyme;
Inspiring common man to be
A hero for all time.

No convoluted bitter fog
To cause the young dismay,
But clear and hopeful, noble light
To help you find your way.

Instead of sordid clumps of woes,
A city on a hill
With towers tall and solid walls
And bright lights burning still.

Inviting all and sundry
To be all that they can be,
And emulate the gentlefolk
Who faced their destiny

With open eyes and hearts aflame,
Bruised and yet unbowed;
Despite their fears down through the years
They did declare aloud,

“The lessons of our history
Will no more be ignored;
The shrieks of mobs and demagogues
Will not undo the law.

Rise up in love and brotherhood
To face the shameless foe
Who advocates for squalor
And loves to pigeonhole

Each man into a rabid tribe
To which he must conform,
Reciting every shibboleth
And joining every swarm

Of violence and hatred of
Today’s appointed prey
For having the audacity
To think and hope and pray.

Beauty, faith and reason
Will guide us on our way
Towards the new horizon
Of bright eternal day.