Prague Twin

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Down with the Ship?

When I read about Condoleezza Rice standing up for Donald Rumsfeld I couln't help but to think about the immediate post-communist period here in the Czech Republic.

Let me explain.

After the revolution in 1989, the names of people who were sympathetic to "the Party" were made public. There was a color coded label attached to each persons name indicating their level of involvement in party activities. Those people affiliated with the infamous secret-police were most seriously punished. Some dissidents ended up on the list by virtue of the fact that they were made to give statements to the secret-police. They were questioned so often, in fact, it made no difference whether or not they actually gave any information: a connection was established, and they found themselves on the list. Some people found out their husbands or wives were spies. There were mistakes (of course) and some people found themselves on the list who had no party affiliations. Sometimes they were unable to convince their own family members of their innocence.

People lost their jobs, their friends, even their families sometimes. Many were jailed. Few had an opportunity to have their cases reviewed in any meaningful way. Nearly the same amount of cruel despostism was applied to those who had made the list as was applied to those who had been dissidents under the communist regime. For the most part, justice was served. It was an important part of the healing process for the Czech people despite individual cases of injustice. People needed to be held accountable, and they were.

Under Communism, propoganda was everywhere. The message of obidience was on every street corner. Joining the party was an easy way to material wealth. Being a dissident was an easy way to find yourself in jail or driving a tractor in some horrible place hundreds of miles from your home and family. It would be easy to argue that one "had to do what they had to do", to support one's family, for instance. But these arguments were summarily dismissed when the revolution took hold. Those who had taken the easy path found themselves in debt to a society that they had helped to subjugate.

So when I hear Condoleezza Rice supporting Rumsfeld, saying he is a "really good Secretary of Defense," I can't help but to wonder if she will have to ever pay for that in any real way. Suppose it can be shown eventually that Rumsfeld ordered renditions and Mrs. Rice knew about it.

Will she ever be held accountable for furthering her own ambitions by being complicit in this administration and helping it stay in power? Should she be?

2 Comments:

  • Should she choose to run for public office (versus being an appointee), we can hold her accountable then. As much as I would have liked to vote for her, she just lost me.

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 7:49 AM  

  • She lost me when she said, "I don't think anyone could have predicted that they would use airplains to crash into buildings."

    Duh.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 3:57 PM  

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