Sunday, 8 December 2013

Saint Nelson? Or not? Peter Hitchens' view

The orgy of grief for Nelson Mandela reminds me of what Oscar Wilde said about the death of Little Nell. You would need a heart of stone not to laugh.

I was sick to death of the Mandela coverage the moment I heard the news - it brings back the double standards about South Africa in the 80s when the white regime was much better than any of its neighbours. This does not mean I liked apartheid - I loathed it - but I did like white rule - though I recognised it could not last. I liked colonialism and it is the history of colonialism which urgently needs to be understood in our day. Instead clever people of good will believe the white races have done terrible things to the brown and yellow races, when in fact on balance the colonial powers have so much to be proud of.
I never believed in the rule de mortuis nil nisi bono. I looked in vain for Peter Hitchen's comments on the death of Nelson Mandela but he seems to have written nothing. I am posting this link to his summing up of Mandela several years ago.


I just came across this published yesterday by Mr Hitchens, which I missed. It contains this:

Anyone looking at the world in the second half of the 20th Century could see that the harshest and cruellest regimes on the planet were Left-wing ones, in Moscow, Peking and Havana. But the fashionable Western Left will never admit that. They are interested only in ‘Right-wing’ repression and secretly think that Left-wing oppression might actually be justified. 

That is why there was nothing like this fuss on the death of another giant of human liberation, Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Solzhenitsyn was at least as great as Mandela – and, in my view, greater. He never wielded anything more deadly than a typewriter, yet he brought down an Evil Empire, with all its concentration camps, tanks, guns and bombs. But when he died in August 2008, I don’t recall hours of eulogies on the BBC, or his face on every front page. Ask yourselves why.


  1. Succinct and superb.

  2. There are all kinds of oppression. Hitler's oppression was quite extreme and not left-wing. I don't know many leftists who "secretly" approve of Stalin.

    Mandela evolved from a revolutionary into a conciliator and head of state who stepped down voluntarily. There's something to be said for that.