After communist oppression, freedom tastes sweet
Macedonian-born Alexander Kubaiski warns that freedom must be safeguarded, not taken for granted
News Review Staff Writer
“I am a freedom lover, because I come from a place where freedom was punished.”
After being born and raised under a communist regime in Macedonia, Alexander Kubaiski came to America as a young man to earn degrees in finance, economics and design and eventually citizenship. Recently he shared his experience with the members and guests of the Ridgecrest Exchange Club.
When the communists came to power in Macedonia, the affluent Kubaiski family lost lands, homes, and everything else it owned to the new government. And for the rest of their lives, the family members were subjected to government interrogation.
“Living under those conditions gave my family, gave me, a cemented outlook on what freedom is, and what freedom should be,” said Kubaiski.
Freedom of speech, the first “unalienable” right as American, was replaced with freedom of the government to ship out to an island the thousands who spoke out against those in power.
He recalled how from early childhood he would listen to “Voice of America,” the one-hour radio show that would gather together and enthrall his family. “I remember my dad would put paper on the windows, cover them with heavy curtains and even then we would listen at a very low volume what America had to say.
“To us America stood for freedom and against oppression. Their might was our inspiration.”
It was not only that program that sustained a generation of Macedonians. “You have no idea how good you have it here. We have no idea how good we have it. If it were not for the food drops, and that hope that came from America, the people of my country would not have survived.”
As a youth Kubaiski left home to continue his education. First he studied in the communist countries of Europe’s Eastern Bloc. He was punished by his instructors for challenging the questionable purity of his lessons.
“In communism, preconditioning is everything,” he said. Communist governments rely on not having their ideas exposed or questioned by contrarians. But having heard the contrast of “Voice of America,” Kubaiski did not back down.
He eventually came to America as an exchange student, and with new unfettered access to information, absorbed knowledge and understanding at a rate that staggered his new professors.
“They did not know where I was learning before, how hard I had to work to get the facts. Here, even the language barrier did not hold me back.”
For two decades Kubaiski lived in America as a successful artist and entrepreneur. During that time his home country was having its own political revolution, where the people’s party — one that his family had helped when it was underground — had come into power.
Hoping to bring his experience with free enterprise to the infant government, Kubaiski returned to his homeland to help rebuild his country.
To his great disappointment, the people who governed were of the same caliber as those who had come to power in Eastern Europe after World War II. “These were thugs, crooks, corrupt individuals who have absolutely no remorse stepping over you, selling their own mother, father or brother for short change.
“We here don’t even think that is possible. Americans can’t conceive of the gravity of this — it is just inaccessible to us.
“But we are now at a point in our country where we must face this. Democracy has enemies. And today America is surrounded by those enemies on all sides.”
Kubaiski said that the first casualty of freedom is free speech. People lose the right to talk about religion, to criticize their own governments, to say something politically incorrect. It happens so slowly that people do not always know it is happening. Meanwhile, he said, those enemies of freedom are working hard to impose on those rights.
“I do not want to see America become another Yugoslavia. The clouds are all around us, and the only thing that can help is to keep hope and ask questions. Getting to the truth is all we need because there are people in the world working a million miles an hour to undermine us.”
Who are the enemies of freedom? Kubaiski says these are the men and women who love money and power. Sometimes they are heads of government or captains of industry. He said that the fact that the new people’s party in his country was full of the same kind of tyrants they replaced was because positions of authority often attract those who love power.
“But I find Americans can’t believe it. They say, ‘Is this for real? This cannot be happening because we are good people, we have done nothing.’ This is happening right now.”
He pointed to longtime Wall Street investors selling out their stock as one indication. And while America is printing out more paper currency to cover its debts, China is buying up the mineral rights of the world — 95 percent of which he said are now controlled by that country.
“Inflation is going to hit and costs are going to go up in a way you haven’t seen very soon,” said Kubaiski.
“But America is still the biggest market, the greatest wealth, in all the world. We have it good here, I just hope we don’t lose it. For that we need people to engage. We need giants — people who are truly passionate about their work. If you live life with passion, with it comes truth. And truth is everything. You can always stand up on the truth. If you lie and manipulate you spend your life trying to cover things up until delusion becomes a way of life.
“I see Americans just sitting there doing nothing. You must speak your minds — open up and hold people responsible for their actions.”
As a boy, Kubaiski had the “Voice of America” to nurture his freedom. “Who does America have to listen to?”Story First Published: 2013-02-13