is a Defense - Anne Applebaum
Above: Anne Applebaum won the Pulitzer Prize in 2004 for her incredible research in former Soviet archives that she published in "Gulag, A History".
"Every one of the 20th-century's mass tragedies was unique Every one of these events had different historical, philosophical and cultural origins, every one arose in particular local circumstances, which will never be repeated. Only our ability to debase and dehumanize our fellow men has been - and will be - repeated again and again: our transformation of our neighbors into 'enemies', our reduction of our opponents to lice or vermin or poisonous weeds, our reinvention of our victims as lower, lesser or evil beings, worthy only of incarceration or expulsion or death.
The more we are able to understand how different societies have transformed their neighbors and fellow citizens from people into objects, the more we know of the specific circumstances which led to each episode of mass torture and mass murder, the better we will understand the darker side of our own human nature.
This book [Gulag] was not written 'so that it will not happen again', as the cliché would have it. This book was written because it almost certainly will happen again. Totalitarian philosophies have had, and will continue to have, a profound appeal to many millions of people. Destruction of the 'objective enemy', as Hannah Arendt once put it, remains a fundamental object of many dictatorships. We need to know why - and each story, each memoir, each document in the history of the Gulag is a piece of the puzzle, a part of the explanation. Without them, we will wake up one day and realize that we do not know who we are."
Anne Applebaum, winner of the
2004 Pulitzer Prize for GULAG: A History. Penguin Books: London,
2004, pp 513-514.ISBN: 0-140-28310-2.