Category Archives: Amnesty International

Not a sparrow falls but it is our moral concern

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 16.58.33

Mission creepy

This is the syndrome from which Amnesty International has been suffering for some time, Dalrymple notes.

It is as if, he says, the taxpayer-subsidised human rights NGO at some point along the way

grew bored with its original purpose.

Of course, the sad change in the character of this once-laudable organisation results, Dalrymple points out, from the increasingly general belief that

virtue is proportionate to the number of good causes that one espouses.

Byeon Sang-byeok, Cats and Sparrows, mid-18th century

Byeon Sang-byeok, Cats and Sparrows, mid-18th century

Dalrymple given the brush-off by Amnesty apparatchik

Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 07.01.02

Abimael Guzmán and Mao Zedong

On the way back to Europe from Peru, Dalrymple falls into conversation with the person seated next to him on the aëroplane, who turns out to be an investigator for Amnesty International, the human rights NGO. When Dalrymple tells the investigator about the things he has seen done by the Peruvian army, the investigator

looked like a man who had just been fed with a tantalisingly delicious dish, or a cat at the cream; it was, it seemed to me, exactly what he wanted to hear. He almost purred.

But when Dalrymple tells the investigator about the things he has seen done by the Communist Party of Peru (the Maoist guerrillas Sendero Luminoso or Shining Path), the investigator’s

'He turned away from me and took no further interest in my conversation'

‘He turned away from me and took no further interest in my conversation’

expression turned sour and he looked at me as if I were a credulous bearer of tales about unicorns or sea monsters. He turned away from me and took no further interest in my conversation.

Dalrymple points out that

constituted governments do a lot of evil, but they are not the only ones to do evil.

In the case of the insurgency in Peru,

the government was the lesser evil, and by far.

Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 07.11.38

The Britons to whom Stalin was and is a god

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 02.08.08

E.J. Hobsbawm: awarded the CH for services to Stalin apologetics

What are they like, the apologists for tyranny, the supporters of Mao or Hitler or Stalin, the defenders of the gulag, the enemies of a free and open society, the admirers of terror and genocide, the ones who want to see what Orwell called the ‘boot stamping on a human face — forever’? What are creatures like Eric Hobsbawm really like?

Dalrymple brings out some of their attributes in the course of an account of a visit to North Korea as part of a delegation to the World Festival of Youth and Students.

I was accepted as a member [of the delegation] because I was a doctor who had practised in Tanzania, whose first president Julius Nyerere was a close friend and admirer of Kim Il Sung.

He describes some of the delegates.

They were hard-faced communists, who dressed tough and cut their hair short so that their heads should appear as bony as possible. I overheard one of them describing a demonstration he had attended in England, in which there had also been a member of Amnesty International with a placard.

‘I went up to him and said, “I don’t believe in that bourgeois shit.” And he said, “Do you think political prisoners should be tortured and killed, then?” “Too fucking right, I do,” I said.’

The person to whom he related this charming little exchange laughed. What I found frightening about the pair of them was that their faces were contorted with hatred even as they laughed, and when they talked of killing political prisoners they meant it. They were members of a little communist groupuscule for whom Stalin was a god, not in spite of his crimes but because of them.