Opening the Life under CommunismFiles

One of the most oppressive aspects of life under communism is the ubiquitous network of informers. Secret police agents are everywhere. You never know when neighbors and co-workers are snooping on you. You never know who you can trust. These sharp truths are being brought home today in East Germany, where the files of the secret police are being opened to the public. Listen to some of the heart-rending stories. A husband and wife team were once leading dissidents under the communist government in East Germany. When the couple read their files, they discovered that over the years their mail had been opened, their apartment had been bugged, and a hidden camera had recorded every visitor to their home. The wife learned that secret police agents had tried to break up their marriage by luring her into an affair. The husband discovered that the reason he lost his job was a campaign of false accusations planted by the secret police. Similar stories are surfacing in German newspapers almost daily. A mayor discovered that for years his best friend had reported on him to the secret police. Athletes discovered that team-mates were reporting their private conversations. A young man whose escape to the West was foiled discovered the informer was his own father. A Protestant pastor who had suffered from prolonged depression discovered in his files that his doctor was a secret police agent, who'd given him psychoactive drugs in an effort to destroy him emotionally. The same pastor also discovered that the secret police had sent young women his way hoping to seduce him; that even young children were recruited to report on his kids. Headlines across Germany picked up the story when a leading dissident, who is now a member of parliament, opened her files. She discovered that the person who informed on her all her adult life was her own husband. Without knowing it, she had married a secret police agent. For Christians perhaps the most appalling revelation is that the secret police had infiltrated deeply into the churches, especially ecumenical organizations like the World Council of Churches. Stories like these ought to convince any remaining doubters that communism is an inhuman, oppressive political system. You notice I said is an oppressive system, not was. Since the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, many people have begun to treat the topic as passe, no longer worth serious discussion. But communism remains a formidable presence in the world through its stranglehold on China, Cuba, North Korea, and other hold-outs. A full quarter of the world's population still lives under a system as inhuman as the system coming to light today in East Germany. The people of God dare not forget those suffering in the chains of political oppression. While we rejoice in the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, nevertheless we must remain vigilant in prayer for people who still live under communist tyranny around the globe.


Chuck Colson



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