Category Archives: freedom fighters

The Hobsbawm of the RSPCA

John Bryant with the RSPCA's highest honour, the Queen Victoria Gold Medal for 'long and meritorious service in the cause of animal welfare'

John Bryant with the RSPCA’s highest honour, the Queen Victoria Gold Medal for ‘long and meritorious service in the cause of animal welfare’. Eric Hobsbawm got the Companion of Honour

Dalrymple reports that John Bryant, one of the candidates for the governing council of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, believes

the keeping of pets of any description is a contravention of animals’ rights, among which is that to freedom.

Bryant believes in

the right of every single fish to live out its life as nature intended.

All fish, Bryant believes, should be released into open waters forthwith. The fact, writes Dalrymple,

that most of the fish would not survive more than a few minutes would count for nothing. Freedom is freedom and not another thing. Did not Benjamin Franklin warn us that he who sacrificed his freedom for security would end up with neither? Why should it be any different for goldfish?

Bryant believes all dogs should be freed

from their leather nooses and chains.

All dogs

should be released from their leashes, collars, kennels, and baskets. Bryant compares their state to that of domestic slavery.

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 22.50.03Bryant

does not want dogs to be released into the exterior wherever they are. The condition of ownerless dogs in Africa and Asia is not encouraging, famished, flea-bitten, battle-scarred and plagued by sores as they are.

Rather,

they should be allowed to die out by not being able to reproduce. Within 15 years they would cease to exist and would thus be released from their terrible servitude.

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 22.57.34Bryant is considered one of the more moderate candidates for the RSPCA’s governing council. Another candidate, the vegan Peta Watson-Smith, has likened the hardships experienced by farm animals to that of Jews in the Nazi Holocaust, while Dan Lyons and Angela Roberts, founders of the Centre for Animals and Social Justice think-tank, which been undertaking research into

democratic theory and practice in relation to the representation of animals’ interests,

believe that

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 22.59.59animals should be represented in Parliament by members dedicated to their interests and rights alone.

An admirable suggestion, though Dalrymple points to a potential snag:

The interests of owls and mice, rabbits and stoats, spiders and flies occasionally conflict.

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This priceless privilege

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 09.14.52The right to be oppressed (most mercilessly) by one’s own people

The Algerians would rather forget that not only did they

commit many atrocities, both against the French colonists and tens of thousands of Algerians, but that the Algerian population had not been unanimously supportive of the FLN before the advent of independence.

They claimed that the Algerian War was a struggle against racial injustice and discrimination, yet the result was

ethnic cleansing of the million French residents of Algeria, 11 per cent of the population, including Jews, practically all of whom left in the few months after the signing of the Evian Accords.

The freedom fighters turned out to be power fighters.

Once they were installed in power they instituted nothing that any political philosopher would recognise as a regime of freedom. The only sense in which the new regime was freer than the old had been was freedom from the old oppressor.

The new oppressor, which

immediately killed 15,000 to 30,000 fellow countrymen who had fought on the old oppressor’s side, was, however, of the same ethnic, cultural and religious origin as the population it oppressed. How much of an advance was this, and was it worth the lives of half a million people to make it? If the answer is yes, then it is to admit that it is preferable to be oppressed by one’s own people rather than by people of alien origin, even if the weight of the oppression is objectively similar.

To be oppressed by a foreigner

gives an extra dimension of outrage to the oppression, but on the other hand permits the hope that if only the foreigner can be expelled all will be well.

The airline hijacker fêted by SOAS

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Warm friendship: SOAS and the PFLP

Arguably Britain’s two most important taxpayer-funded places of higher learning in their respective fields are the London School of Economics, which is of especially high repute in view of its championing of the revered Muammar Gaddafi’s democratic leadership of Libya during a difficult period for that country, and the School of Oriental and African Studies, noted for its championing of Arab liberationists in general.

It would be petty-minded, writes Dalrymple, to carp that the presence at the latter institution of Leila Khaled, the prominent terrorist and leading member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, to address a meeting of students ‘undermines Britain’s claim of iron commitment’ to the anti-terrorist cause, for after all ‘consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds’.

The anti-Zionist heroine Khaled pointed out to the packed SOAS meeting a fact that the students will no doubt have absorbed from SOAS professors of protestology, namely that there are no suicide bombers, only freedom fighters.

Dalrymple comments:

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Smile, you may die soon: Leila Khaled has devoted her life to peace, terrorism and liberation

The eagerness with which SOAS invited Khaled is both alarming and depressingly unsurprising….The trahison des clercs has to attach itself to something: without betrayal of some ideal or other, many intellectuals would feel bereft of a purpose in life. With the departure of communism from the world stage, Middle Eastern terrorism is an obvious home for those who gain their self-importance by supporting the insupportable. Khaled’s presence in Britain illustrates by analogy the truth of Lenin’s dictum: ‘The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.’

(2002)