Estonian American author: Walmart making light of Soviet atrocities

Monday, September 10, 2018
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

Walmart.com CCCP imageBaltic countries, where citizens once lived under the iron first of the Soviet Union, are asking a major retailer to remove Soviet-themed merchandise being sold online.

Walmart.com is selling T-shirts and keychains (see image) featuring the infamous hammer and sickle, a throwback to the nostalgic times of gulags, bread lines, and a lack of basic individual rights to own a home, choose your job, or even complain to your neighbor about the government. According to The Associated Press, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania "have lashed out" and demanded the products be removed.

One of the loudest protests originating from the U.S. is coming from the Acton Institute, a Michigan-based think tank that promotes individual liberty and religious freedom. Acton senior editor Rev. Ben Johnson warns of the products' potential unintended consequences.

"As a matter of fact, one of the keychains not only has the hammer and sickle communist symbol, but it also has the letters KGB on it," says Johnson. "It's supposed to be an attempt to sort of make humor of the KGB – but there are, as we know, a large number of young people who are enthralled by democratic socialism or even full-blown Communism."

Last week, the Acton Institute held an event at Wheaton College featuring Estonian American and former member of the Estonian Parliament Mari-Ann Kelam, whose husband is a member of the European Parliament from Estonia.

Johnson

"Mari-Ann wrote an article for our website about the reaction when she found out about this," Johnson continues. "Estonia was occupied for 50 years, first by the Communists and then by the Nazis and then again by the Soviet Union – and she was outraged at the idea that you would try to normalize this symbol of oppression and mass murder at the same time that, in Estonia, they've just unveiled a monument to the 22,000 Estonians who died after being exiled to Siberia."

That, says Johnson, is just a small fraction of the 100 million lives that Communism has claimed over the years. "So those are the people who are symbolized by that terrible symbol, and it's a shame that Walmart is popularizing that," he adds.

While Johnson doesn't suggest Walmart be boycotted for marketing the products, he does encourage regular shoppers to convey their displeasure to Walmart – at all levels. Kelam makes the same suggestion in her posted article.

"If they wouldn't carry something emblazoned with a swastika or the SS symbol, why should they carry something with the hammer and sickle or the KGB logo?" Johnson asks.

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