Lionizing Paul Robeson does an injustice to communism’s victims

(Photo/Don Ipock)

By Francois Krodel, Alexandria
(Photo/Don Ipock)

To the editor:

I was shocked to learn the Alexandria Times was party to an awful hoax. The supportive review of the Arena Stage’s play on the life of performer Paul Robeson (“The cost of fighting the good fight,” January 23) propagates the standard fiction of a great humanist only seeking human rights. Nothing is further from the truth.

The play is a whitewashed hagiography. It completely omits Robeson’s extensive time in the Soviet Union in the 1930s as well as him becoming a diehard defender of Joseph Stalin’s genocidal, Soviet death machine. Robeson — to his death — remained consciously silent about the Holodomor (the Ukrainian genocide that left millions dead) and about the several hundred naive Americans who left in the 1930s for the Soviet Union, almost all of whom ended up dying in the Gulags.

Robeson was fully complicit in aiding and abetting evil. He is no idol to those who venerate justice.

In promoting a deceitfully sanitized story of his life, the Times trivializes the abject suffering endured by tens of millions committed by one of the most evil regimes in the 20th century.