Knowledge they seek
Though none dare speak.
They hide behind magazines
And play out scenes in their head,
Away and words go unread,
“But he said … And I know he wouldn’t lie
And behind closed doors
That which is concealed
Will be revealed.
The Atlantic has published a fascinating article by Anne Applebaum entitled “How Stalin Hid Ukraine’s Famine From The World”. In it Applebaum shows how the majority of western journalists in the Soviet Union denied that famine was present in Ukraine despite being well aware of its presence. The vast majority of the western press feared losing their journalistic accreditation to work in the Soviet Union so used terms such as “hunger”.
Applebaum relates the story of Lloyd George’s Private Secretary who managed to obtain permission to visit Ukraine (there was a ban on journalists visiting famine stricken areas) and blew the whistle on this largely man-made disaster, which flowed from forced collectivisation of agriculture and the state’s requisitioning of food from starving peasants. To their shame western journalists accused Jones (Lloyd George’s Private Secretary) of exaggerating the famine, despite them being well aware that he was not doing so.
“Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.
And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
“Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.
And he was rich—yes, richer than a king—
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.
So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head”.