Is Delayed Freedom Appreciated More?
By Michael Heath / selfpublishingUS.com
The winds of socialism are blowing throughout our country. People take to the streets demanding free college, increased wage minimums, high taxes on the wealthy, taking guns away from private citizens, more regulations to strangle business. Of course, voices need to be heard on many issues. We do want more equality, better policing, a cleaner environment, and fairer compensation. However, there appears to be an anger in the air that fogs people’s thinking. Much of what protesters yearn for is accomplished by turning determination over to the government. Author Ella Miriam grew up in the central planning system of the Soviet Union where the socialist government made the decisions for its people. The results were a bland existence of few choices, no freedom and mass poverty.
The Battle of Leningrad
Ella Miriam was born in Leningrad during the World War II German siege. Famine and service disruption was so drastic that more than 800,000 citizens perished. When the war ended, her war-hero father returned from the front lines to raise the family in a cramped apartment that was nothing more than a converted stable. Their situation was a little better than most; although three generations were living there, all were relatives. Elle and her sister grew up with no toys and nothing resembling luxuries. When the family could afford a small black and white television set with one channel, she watched the great Russian pianists and found her life purpose in music. Her parents managed to buy a used, broken-down piano that a friend said had real potential. She received piano lessons, a trajectory that led to her becoming a music teacher.
A Resigned Citizenry
Propaganda numbed the minds of the Soviets. The citizenry was resigned to the conditions in which they lived. People lived in fear. The gulag was a real threat. Opinions were kept hidden; there was no point in attracting the attention of authorities. People were hypnotized by the “superpower” of the USSR. They believed the lies. The motherland alone won the war. Soviet athletes were the best. The socialist system delivered equality and a better living than the oppressive West.
Home in Israel
Ella Miriam and her Jewish community knew there was a better living in other places. In the 1970s, Breshnev allowed Jews to emigrate to Israel as part of a concession in an agreement with the United States. Requesting a move from the Soviet Union was risky, but Ella and her husband thought it was a chance worth taking. They applied for and were granted permission to emigrate to Israel. They did so with little more than the clothes on their backs.
Ella and her husband found that landing in Israel was like being reborn. They could come and go as they pleased. People were helpful, as opposed to the uncooperative Soviet bureaucracy. Food, healthcare and living accommodations were plentiful. Yet not all was perfect. They learned quickly that Israel was surrounded by enemy countries, and the Yom Kippur War started a week after their arrival. Ella was also confused by a people who leaned toward socialism.
America intrigued Ella. It was the land of opportunity. The place where her children could thrive. It was also safe from the threat of war. She visited with a brother-in-law and thanks to a small miracle, found a permanent job as a multi-lingual music teacher, which allowed her to successfully apply for immigration. She and the rest of her family moved to the United States. Ella tragically lost her husband to a heart attack after settling in the US and she eventually remarried. But the life in America provided her and family members freedoms that she could never have imagined in the USSR. All people should read Chasing Freedom to understand that there are no liberties in America to chase; they are already here.