Photo of the moment: India brilliantly demonstrating the error of Mao Zedong

May 12, 2014

You remember the quote, don’t you?

Every Communist must grasp the truth; “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

Mao Zedong, “Problems of War and Strategy” (November 6, 1938), Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 224.

Here is the 21st century response from India:

A man shows off his finger, marked with ink, to show he's voted in India's elections, 2014.   WSJ image

A man shows off his finger, marked with ink, to show he’s voted in India’s elections, 2014. WSJ Tweet: India’s weeks-long federal elections come to a close. Photos from the polling place: http://trib.al/SekkQd2 (EPA)

In a democratic regime, political power grows from the finger that rings the doorbell or dials the phone to invite a neighbor to vote, and to that same finger marking the ballot in the voting place.  In the 21st century, democratic revolutions are slower, cause less bloodshed, but are more deeply rooted in the will of the people, and last longer in the deep reforms they bring to a nation.

The finger is mightier than the gun.

Mao is dead.  Even his nation turns towards capitalism, and eventually, to personal political freedom.

O, Tempora! O, Mores!

To which I would add (hoping I get the grammar correct!):  Novae viae veteres malis eius conterendos.  Spes et patientia superare tyrannidis.  (New ways crush the old bad habits. Hope and determination overcome tyranny.)

Afterthought:   When Malcolm X preached “The Ballot or the Bullet,” he advocated the ballot. He knew.


“Surviving the religion of Mao”

September 13, 2007

Real information about real struggles for human rights, as opposed to mere efforts to set the record straight: American Public Media’s radio program, Speaking of Faith features a program on the “religion” of Mao, how life under the long-time communist ruler of the Peoples Republic of China really was closer to religious fervor than reason.

Maoist era propaganda poster;

Propaganda poster from Maoist era: “I’m a battlefield hero, as well as a labor hero!”

It’s an encore presentation, from a year ago. Featured is an interview with Anchee Min, author of The Red Azalea and The Last Empress.

Speaking of Faith’s host Krista Tippett is one of the better interviewers on spirituality and faith. The program may be carried on your local public radio station (not in Dallas, alas); if not, you can listen on-line. Read the rest of this entry »


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