So This Is Russia!
LIEUT.-COL. GEORGE A. DREW
All photon, except military and
Russia, says Col. Drew, is a "paradise" of corruption, inefficiency, squalor and terrorism
JOSEPH VISSARIONOVITCH DZUGASHVILI alias Koba, alias David, alias Chichikov, now known as Stalin, rules the largest and potentially wealthiest nation in the world. No one man has ever exercised absolute authority over so many people in the history of the world. His qualifications for this great task include murder, bank robbery, several terms of imprisonment, and constant and violent opposition to all those in authority from the time he was eighteen until he himself assumed a share of authority in 1917.
The mere fact that such a man is the dictator of a mighty nation in this century of social and cultural achievement, is one of those paradoxes which make it extremely difficult to interpret Russia in terms that can be understood in any other country’.
It would not be fair to portray Russia on the basis of direct comparison with Canada, the United States or England, because at the time of the Revolution in 1917 most of the Russian people were living according to a standard far below that of the Anglo-Saxon countries. On the other hand, an equally false impression is given by those who seem to be pleasantly surprised that Russians are living in any way like human beings. The critics who adopt the first basis and the enthusiastic supporters who adopt the second, have succeeded in conveying an equally inaccurate picture of what Russia is really like today.
The fact that there is widespread poverty, destitution and actual starvation, does not mean that there are no well-fed, well-paid, and well-housed Russians. Neither does the fact that in Moscow. Leningrad, Kiev and the other larger cities, there are those who drive the costliest American and British cars, mean that the general public has such costly means of transportation at its disposal.
Soviet propaganda points with pride to the new Russian constitution as the most democratic in the world. An examination of the constitution itself and the election laws under which the universal suffrage is to be exercised, gives all the appearance of democracy. But what is the use of talking of a democratic constitution in a country where nearly every prominent Communist of the days of the 1917 Revolution has been shot, and the premiers of Russian provinces are deposed, not by their governments but on Stalin’s instructions?
If. during the next year, the Right Hon. Arthur Meighen, Sir George Perlev, the Hon. C. H. Cahan, Sir James MacBrien, Air Vice Marshal W. A. Bishop, General Ashton, the Hon. Vincent Massey, Premier Hepburn, Premier Duplessis, Premier Pattullo, Premier Aberhart. Premier Macdonald, and a few’ hundred other statesmen, politicians, and men prominent in the civil and military life of Canada, were shot after summary’ court martial on a charge of “Bennettism and sabotage.” we might be inclined to doubt how much democracy still existed in Canada. And yet there are apologists for the Soviet Government of
Russia who seem to forget that men in Russia who held positions corresponding to those of the Canadians I have mentioned, have been executed during the past year after the flimsiest pretense of trial. And to those enthusiastic Communists in Canada who perhaps would argue that the “liquidation” of these representatives of what they consider a decayed system, would perhaps hasten the advent of a Soviet paradise in Canada, let it be recalled that during the same period thousands of proletarians, engineers, factory foremen and ordinary workers have been shot, without trial of any kind, by the quick-triggered gunmen of the Ogpu.
nPHE WORDING of the Soviet constitution and the -*• actual measure of freedom enjoyed within Russia, demonstrate as well as anything else one of the greatest practical difficulties in making use of any figures “made in Russia.” A man who can draw encouraging charts and graphs» showing graphically the glory of Russian progress, is far more in demand than any mere statistician or accountant who might show in accurate but unattractive form the real trend of industrial or agricultural production. One of the first things that is brought home in any attempt to see Russia clearly, is the fact that from the Kremlin down to the humblest Kolkhoz, facts or figures mean nothing except as part of a propaganda picture.
As an example, I went to one of the most prosperous of the collective farms engaged in market gardening not far from Moscow and, through the interpreter who went with me, was told that in this particular Kolkhoz the average amount received by each of its members during 1936 was 5,000 rubles. When I got down to exact figures with the director of the Kolkhoz, I found that 335,000 rubles had been divided among 213 workers, which meant that, instead of 5,000, they had received an average of 1.573 rubles, or slightly in excess of $300 a year. When I pointed this out through the interpreter, he smiled pleasantly, agreed that my figures were correct, but still insisted that the average was 5,000. One thing I did find in this particular Kolkhoz, or farm village, was that in spite of the “forced collectivism” of all horses, cattle and foodstuffs, private ownership is creeping back in spite of all arguments to the contrary. The Kolkhoz, for instance, owned forty cows and seventy pigs. On the other hand, the individual farmers in the same Kolkhoz owned 172 cows and 120 pigs. Even in a country where private ownership was destroyed at the point of a gun, there is no better proof anywhere in the world than that furnished in Russia today that a farmer will not submit to communism. He will put real heart into his work only if he has a plot of land, with horses, cattle and fowl in which he can take a personal interest and a personal pride, and preserve as his own under the simplest and most elementary form of capitalism.
Figures in other directions are equally misleading. If one takes the figures supplied in regard to the progress of the succeeding Five Year Plans, one reads of new railway engines, new rolling stock, and thousands of miles of new roadbeds. Once again figures, and the evidence of one’s own experience do not correspond. On the long run from Negerolye, on the Polish border, right to Moscow on the main line, I did not see any engines or rolling stock, let alone stations and equipment along the line, which did not
look as though they went back at least to the date of the Revolution. The roadbeds are in frightful condition, and any attempt at speed could only result in a train leaving the rails.
Lenin’s Ideas Discarded
AGAIN, the contrast one sees everywhere became apparent. On crossing into Russia from Poland at three o’clock in the morning, it was necessary to change trains as the Russian roadbed is wider than that used anywhere else in Europe. On leaving the comfortable Nord Express, I went into the station at Negerolye and was immediately impressed with the style and appearance of this border station. It is a fairly large building used only for the exchange of passengers from one train to another, and the walls of the waiting room are covered with propaganda paintings. As one enters the building one reads in large letters in English and French, the exhortation, “Workers of the World, Unite!” The next thing that impressed me was the extraordinarily large number of uniformed soldiers who conducted the extremely minute examination of all baggage and papers. There were at least five times as many as were needed, and each was well armed.
From the appearance of this building, I was beginning to think that probably the Russian railways had the sort of stations and equipment which their propaganda literature described. Then I went through to the other track and found the most ramshackle train on which I have ever travelled.
I had read just before, that on the Russian trains one might travel “de luxe” in the International Wagon-lits, which constitute a “superclass.” There was, in fact, an international “wagon-lit” on this train. It was an old veteran of the pre-Revolution days which had been stolen from the international company, along with all the others in Russia at the time of the Revolution. It had received very little attention in the last twenty years, and would have been discarded long ago by any railway in Canada or the United States.
There are a few new trains, running out of Moscow, which one is shown with great pride. These are, however, only available to Government and Red Army officials. The ordinary workers in the “Dictatorship of the Proletariat” ride in cars with hard wooden seats. Only people as accustomed to hardship as the Russians could ride very far sitting on the sharp-edged slats of which these seats are made.
Moscow is the show place where every effort is exerted to demonstrate Soviet progress. It is a city of amazing contrasts. Here are centred the Government and huge bureaucracies through which the affairs of Russia are controlled. The ancient Kremlin, which for centuries was the home of Czars, is now Stalin’s headquarters. The enormous five-pointed golden Soviet star has replaced the crosses on the tallest towers, but otherwise nothing is changed.
The only change, in fact, anywhere about the great Red Square is Lenin’s tomb, which was erected in front of the middle wall of the Kremlin and is now visited daily by thousands of people from all over Russia. It is hard to understand just what these people are thinking, who come in their thousands every day. It is an impressive sight to
see the long queues, doubling back and forth along the Red Square, of the people who wait patiently to see the body of the man who brought about the Revolution. Is it idolatry? Is it mere curiosity? It is hard to say. Most of these people have been brought from remote points on free excursions arranged for those who are held in i'avor by the local Soviet authorities. It is hard to tell what any Russian is thinking, from his face, but it seems likely that most of those who pass Lenin’s bier mustwonder whether things would be the same if he were still alive.
It is surprising if this thought does not enter the mind of every one of these people, because Russia today is not the Russia that was pictured by Lenin or those associated with him. They must go home to the extreme poverty of most of their towns and villages wondering if Lenin’s promise of payment to every man “according to his needs” is being carried out in the really enormous salaries that are now paid to the commissars, directors of factories, Government officials, professors, artists and writers. If they still have any thoughts, in a country in which thought may be a criminal offense, they must wonder why the highly paid officials in Moscow need the most expensive foreign cars for their daily tasks, while comrades elsewhere cannot buy a pair of shoes.
There is luxury in the larger cities. Those whom fortune has favored politically, occupy some of the beautiful homes built in the days of the Czars—attractive villas in the country—while space is so crowded for the ordinary workers that four or six are usually allocated to a single bedroom.
Filth and Destitution
IT IS BECAUSE of these startling contrasts that it is so difficult to convey an accurate impression of Russia as it really is. On the one hand is extravagance and luxury. On the other is poverty, filth and destitution such as I had not thought existed anywhere in the world. Village after village presents a uniformly desolate appearance. The roads are nothing but winding dirt tracks. The unpainted wooden houses, thatched with straw, were obviously built years ago. The majority of the peasants are in bare feet and their clothes are literally rags. I saw whole groups of people whose faces showed only too clearly that they were undernourished, and in some cases on the verge of starvation. It was a pitiful sight. I have seen the blacks in the cotton areas of the Southern States; I have seen the Eskimos in the Arctic, and the Indians of the Far North. These are usually supposed to represent an extremely low point of civilization, but they looked happy and contented compared to the unfortunate peasants in Western Russia.
I know that statements are now being issued from the Kremlin claiming that the crop this year will be the greatest in Russia’s history. But it is impossible to say whether these statements have any foundation in fact. I do know that in old “W’hite Russia” a large part of the crops are being cut by hand, and in scores of villages which I saw there was no evidence of the boasted agricultural mechanization.
It must be remembered that half of all the horses and cattle in Russia were slaughtered a few years ago by the farmers as evidence of their resentment of the orders to turn them over to those controlling the collective farms. Continued on page 45
Continued from page 15—Starts on page 14
The shortage of horses is very noticeable, and this, combined with the fact that about two thirds of all the farm tractors in Russia are out of commission because of a shortage of spare parts and lack of skilled mechanics, makes the prospect of a successful harvest this year extremely doubtful. But, in any event, the farmers will be on extremely short rations of grain throughout the whole of Russia, because wheat is one of Russia’s most valuable exportable commodities, and exports are increasingly necessary to establish the foreign credit required to purchase war material.
In spite of these conditions, which many visitors to Russia refuse to see, there are developments in some of the larger cities which can be used as evidence of the progress which is being made unless one goes below the surface. In Moscow, which has grown from a million and a half in 1917 to nearly three times that size today, largely because the enormous governmental bureaucracy is centred there, some attempt has been made to show the millions of Russians who visit the capital every year, and the visitors from outside who practically all find their way there eventually, that the Soviet system is a success.
But nothing more clearly emphasizes the atmosphere of unreality in which everything is being done in Russia today, than those things to which they point with the greatest pride.
Marble Hides Inefficiency
NO ONE can be in Moscow very long before someone insists on a trip on the new subway system which was finally finished last year. The visitor is told that there is nothing like it in the world. That is true. The one line which has been finished is about six miles long, and every station is finished like the ballroom in a royal palace. Each is finished entirely with marble, and each one of them has a different architectural design and a different color of marble. These stations are really beautiful. Even the perfectly carved shades for the indirect lighting are of marble and alabaster. I was greatly impressed, but not by efficiency.
In the first place, the subway follows one of the widest streets in a city of extremely wide streets. There is no traffic congestion on these streets, and in a city in which money is needed so badly for other purposes it would have seemed more reasonable to have taken care of the passenger demand by buses at an extremely small fraction of the cost. The figure I got from the Department of Transport as the cost of the six miles now completed was 800,000,000 rubles. It does seem cynically incongruous that the Government would spend $160,000,000 on twelve underground palaces when they cannot find ways or means to provide even the cheapest leather boots for the vast
majority of their impoverished peasants.
But this taste for marble is not confined to the subway system. A stamp has just been struck showing the Moscow Hotel, which has been built not far from the Kremlin. The front is entirely of polished marble. It is about ten stories high, was commenced ten years ago and is not yet finished. It is clean and reasonably comfortable. I stayed there, but found it necessary to eat at either the Metropole or the National, which were built long before the Revolution, as the dining room is uncompleted. This hotel, which has created such a sensation in Moscow that it has been honored with a special stamp, cannot however, be compared with any first-class hotel in the capital city of any other European country. It is insignificant in size compared with the Royal York Hotel, in Toronto, and the interior fittings are not as good as would be found in the cheaper commercial hotels in most of the larger cities of the North American Continent. The plaster is already cracking badly and in most of the bathrooms is actually falling down, but that seems to make very little difference to enthusiastic Communists when the front is faced with marble.
There are a number of workers’ apartment houses. Having regard to the size of the city and shortage of accommodation, such as exists in no other capital, comparatively few have, however, been built. They are made of concrete, are uniformly ugly and already uniformly filthy. They are not in any way to be compared, inside or out, with similar apartment buildings constructed in Berlin, Rome or Vienna.
Otherwise there has been surprisingly little building. The physical aspect of Moscow with which one is most forcibly impressed is that nearly all the buildings one sees were obviously constructed before the Revolution, and only a few of them show any evidence of having been painted since. On the whole of Gorky Street, which was the popular shopping street of old Moscow, there are only four new buildings along its miles of length. From the type of building and what one can see of the appointments which still remain, the stores were built for a prosperous business.
Today, although the city has three times the pre-Revolution population, at least a third of the windows are empty and, except for a very few quite goodlooking stores, the windows show only a small display of unattractive articles.
There are about half a dozen moderately good-looking stores in the whole city. Foreign window dressers were brought in at considerable expense to prepare these windows. Most of these windows will be the same a year or two years from now. The food supply stores, for instance, have well-arranged displays of boxed and canned goods. The boxes and cans are empty. There are also displays of ham, bacon, sausages, etc. These are quite attractive in appearance, but they are made of wood and painted. I do not suggest they are intended to mislead anyone. These windows are merely a propaganda demonstration that Russian stores are becoming modern.
Shoes That Cost $40
rTTIERE IS a good reason why there are fewer stores today than at the time of the Revolution. The prices are absolutely prohibitive to most of the population.
A very poorly finished pair of men’s leather shoes, which would sell for less than $5 anywhere in Canada, cost 202 rubles, or a little more than $40. Women’s shoes are even more expensive. They are now striving to make women’s clothes a little more attractive, and extremely high heels are once more to be seen. A very simple pair of such shoes, that would certainly not cost more than $5 in Canada, sell for 262 rubles, or more than $50.
The cheapest type of men’s clothes cost from $80 to $100 a suit, while a moderately good-looking ready-made suit costs 800
rubles or $160. A lady’s dress for evening wear, of cheap material, such as would cost from $10 to $12 in Canada, costs from 400 to 500 rubles.
I dropped into the largest grocery store on Gorky Street on several occasions. It had obviously been a magnificent store in the days of the Czars. It is lighted by beautiful crystal chandeliers and must, in its day, have been one of the finest in Europe. I found that the goods were quite well handled and of fair quality, but again the prices were staggering. A very small glass jar of cherries cost six rubles, or $1.20. Eggs cost one ruble each. A small bar of chocolate cost two rubles. Everything else was correspondingly high.
Comparing these with our own prices, one naturally wonders how the workers can buy these things at all. The answer is that, except for the chosen few in Moscow and the other cities throughout Russia, they can't. A skilled girl worker, making 200 rubles a month, cannot buy shoes costing 260 rubles. Nor can a skilled workman in a steel plant, making the relatively high wages of 300 rubles a month, buy a suit of clothes costing 800 rubles.
But the commissars, the high officials, directors of factories, writers and artists can buy these things. In the “Workers Paradise” where everyone was to he paid “according to his needs,” the average wage is a little more than 200 rubles a month, or $40. But the needs of their lords and masters are very different. They get 7,500 rubles a month and more. Some of their most highly paid writers receive close to $100,000 a year. They are doing very well indeed by any standard. They have the best of everything. You may see them any night at the Metropole with some of the pretty girls who obviously can afford to pay $50 and more for a pair of shoes. The restaurant of this old hotel near the opera, which used to be the rendezvous of Moscow’s society before the War, is a very gay sight indeed. I would gather that many visitors to Moscow base their impressions of the city on what they see there.
There is a magnificent orchestra, and the people dance around a marble fountain in which there are live fish which one may choose and have cooked for dinner. These people eat caviar and other expensive dishes, drink vast quantities of champagne, and get noisily drunk. Every now and then someone brightens up the evening by falling into the fountain.
But it is not surprising that there is only one other hotel in Moscow where reasonably good meals can be obtained. After all, the number of those who can pay from $10 to $12 each for a meal is comparatively limited.
Nowhere have I seen the contrast greater than at this very hotel. At breakfast in the morning, hungry-looking waifs put their arms through the ivy which separates the open-air café from the street, begging bread. When they get it they swallow it like little wolves until they are driven away by the ever-present police. I saw men and women standing on the street looking with longing eyes at the good but comparatively simple food on the breakfast table. There was something more than longing in their eyes. It was the look one sees in many places in Russia today. It is a look which can bring no comfort to Stalin and his skilled assassins. It is a look which tells clearer than words that the October Revolution of 1917 was not the last Russian revolution.
No Czar Was More Despotic
ONE OF THE strongest contributing factors to the revolutions of the past was the fact that men and women were imprisoned, and in some cases executed, because of their political opinions. It does not seem to be generally realized yet that far more people have been executed and far more exiled to Siberia and the Arctic wastes under Stalin than in any corresponding period of Russian history.
I was in Moscow at the time of the
formal opening of the new canal which joins the Volga River to the Moscow River. It was hailed as another great triumph of the efficiency of the “Dictatorship of the Proletariat.“ I attended a meeting that night at which several of the political leaders paid tribute to this great event. Around the “Green Theatre,” where the meeting was held in the open air, were pictures of those who had received that day the Order of Lenin and other decorations for their work on this project.
There was great enthusiasm. As the chairman opened the meeting, there were loud cheers as soon as Lenin’s name was heard. Promptly the band at one side of the platform played “The Internationale.” Then a few sentences later one heard the name of Stalin. There were more cheers and again the band played “The Internationale.” Soon the word Communism came into his remarks. This was followed by more cheers and again “The Internationale.” By the time the first speaker was introduced, “The Internationale” had been played at least a dozen times. It pays to be enthusiastic today when senior members of The Party are present.
Russians haven’t much confidence in the democratic constitution about which so much is said outside. Too many of their friends have gone “on vacation,” as the saying is. The courts are not for those who say or do anything which might be interpreted as Trotskyism. The courts are reserved for minor offenses like murder. For those guilty of the supreme offense of political insubordination, there is a quick drumhead court martial and the firing squad. It was, therefore, an extremely enthusiastic meeting.
I was amazed at the official announcement, a few days later, that 50,000 prisoners wrho had worked on this project had received their freedom. I had previously seen it denied officially in London that this canal was being constructed by prison labor. I then made enquiries, and learned from a man who is closely in touch with the situation that 500,000 prisoners had, at different times, been used on this work.
I saw some of those who were not freed, in one of the camps along the canal, where there is still some work to be done. They were surrounded by vicious-looking barbed-wire entanglements at least fifteen feet high, and there were numerous guards with well-mounted machine guns at the corners. It was an extremely dismal-looking sight. Russia has evidently not been bothered by prison reform. These men will soon go on to still greater glories of the proletariat as soon as work is commenced on the new canal which is to be constructed between the Volga and the Don.
Bad though the picture is, it is not all black. Like the other dictatorships, Russia is devoting considerable attention to the physical condition of its youth. I saw an athletic demonstration at the great Moscow sports field, seating 90,000 people, which was really an extremely inspiring sight. There are cheerful-looking people to be seen on the streets and elsewhere. Laughter dies hard when one is young. But everyone who served during the Great War knows that cheerfulness is not in itself evidence that those who are going through such an experience really enjoy it.
ONE OF THE most interesting phases of the Russian Communist experiment has a considerable bearing on the callous cruelty which lies behind the present reign of terror. It is perhaps the first time in history that an organized attempt has been made to break down every moral standard of a whole nation. Practically no Russian under the age of twenty-five has ever been in church. I questioned a number of young Russians about the extent to which religion still survives. In every case they proudly boasted that they had never been inside a church, and spoke scornfully of that small percentage of the older genera-
tion which still has the courage to preserve the old faiths. Materialism is the only god. Marriage has no sanctity, and there is little respect for home life.
It is true that some restraint has been placed on the freedom of divorces and on abortion. But this is purely economic and has no regard to the moral factors involved. The number of divorces reached such fantastic heights, and the number of times that individuals would be divorced became so ridiculous, that it was decided to exercise some control. Divorces in many cases were so frequent that questions of parentage became a little too involved for the Soviet officials to untangle. They have therefore employed the economic brake. It costs three rubles to be married. The first divorce costs fifty rubles, the second 150 rubles, and the third 300. Theoretically, at least, there is at present no fourth divorce permitted. But the limitation is only the expense. Either party may obtain the divorce, and the only ground necessary is that they do not wish to continue as man and wife.
TT IS A topsy-turvy world everywhere
one turns. One of the main attractions in Moscow, for instance, is the Museum of the Revolution, which is in the tine building on Gorky Street which was the English Club before 1917. There one sees succeeding Russian revolutions portrayed as glorious events. In each room are figures, and pictures of Stalin and Lenin. It is an amazing collection. One exhibit shows a picture of as villainous a thug as I have ever seen, and below it, in a glass case, are shown some handmade bombs which were his contribution to the improvement of civilization. In room after room murder and destruction are glorified as the means by which freedom was obtained.
It seemed to me that there was a rather ominous suggestion in this museum for those who are not yet convinced that freedom has been obtained—and they number many millions. It must be remembered that, although no one can occupy an official position who is not a Communist, less than two per cent of the Russian population today belong to the Communist Party.
Three rooms in the museum are devoted to the Spanish Civil War. On the walls ol these rooms are some of the most gruesome photographs I have ever seen. They show appallingly mutilated children killed by shell fire and aerial bombs. They do bring home the real horror of the civil war. But one is left with the impression that the Russian bombers, flown by Russian pilots, which bomb the cities and towns under Nationalist control in Spain, are able in some remarkable way to avoid doing exactly the same thing.
There are letters in glass cases with photographs of tne writers, received from Russians in Spain. There is no more pretense in Moscow about the Russians who are serving in Spain than there is in Italy about Italians who are serving on the opposite side. They are acclaimed as heroes of the anti-Fascist War just as their opponents are acclaimed in Italy as heroes of the anti-Communist War. There is ample evidence in Moscow and in Rome of the extent to which the fight in Spain has become a fight between these conflicting forms of dictatorship.
Propaganda is certainly carried to extremes in both Italy and Germany, but those extremes are multiplied on every side in Russia. For every picture of Hitler or Mussolini, there are ten of Stalin and Lenin. In every store, in every hotel, in every railway station, are pictures and statues of the two dictators who have ruled Russia. There is a new picture of Stalin which one sees on walls, in the amusement parks, and over the motion picture theatres. It shows Stalin with a pretty child in his arms holding a bouquet of flowers. This, I suppose, is to convey the impression that, although he has been
responsible for the shooting of many of his immediate political associates, eight of his generals, thousands of his engineers and factory directors, and has sent hundreds of thousands of others into bitter exile without trial of any kind, he is really a kindhearted man with a great love of children who is properly called “The Father of his People.”
“Freedom” a Joke
COMETH ING is undoubtedly going to ^ work out of this appalling chaos before very long. Many of the 169 distinct nationalities which make up Russia are kindly and loving people. They are also as brave as lions. They are not going to tolerate indefinitely the reign of terror
imposed by this Oriental despot. No one knows whose turn will be next. The Ogpu works quickly and gives no reason.
I think a feeling of helplessness and despair accounts to a considerable extent for the fact that there is more drunkenness and street fighting in Moscow than in all the other European capitals combined. Drunks lie sprawled in the gutter and across the street. Fighting in the streets and in the cheaper restaurants is frequent. Those who have money want to forget. They are literally following the ancient axiom—eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.
The proclaimed freedom of the masses in Russia is a cruel joke. There has never been a more heartless form of despotism
than there is in Russia today. There is not a single thing in Russia which conveys even the hint of any suggestion for the improvement of the conditions of the people of Canada. There are, on the other hand, thousands of warnings that Communism is the worst expedient that has been tried anywhere to improve social conditions. Bearing clearly in mind that Russia is not Canada and that Russians are not Canadians, making full allowance for all the difficulties Russians have to overcome, Russia has clearly demonstrated for all who care to see, that Communism is a ghastly failure, and. instead of giving the freedom which was its purpose, can only in the end create a new form of despotism with all personal liberty destroyed.