Category Archives: persecution

More liberal times than our own

Glancing at the April 1940 edition of the Adelphi, Dalrymple observes:

It is true that the war had not yet entered its most cataclysmic stage, but it is a tribute to the liberalism of the times that, in such a moment of national emergency, people should have been able to argue for a policy [pacifism] directly contra that of the government, without hindrance or persecution.

He points out that today,

there are many subjects on which intellectuals would face more persecution, especially in universities, if they challenged received opinions, than Max Plowman [the then editor] faced from the government in the midst of a war.

The Adelphi published many Orwell essays such as ‘Not counting niggers‘ (July 1939; shown in the contents above)

Mendacity of the Guardian newspaper

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 09.03.09Dalrymple comes across an article on deportations in the London newspaper the Guardian. He explains that the article‘s

real point (exemplified by calling the migrants ‘undocumented’ rather than illegal) is rhetorical rather than informative: it wants to claim that the United States, or by extension any other country, including Britain, has no right to control who enters it to live there.

The article is accompanied by a photo of a man’s hand in a San Pedro Sula hospital. The man is waiting to be treated for a stab wound. There is a lot of blood. Only trouble is, the man turns out not to be a deportee from the US.

The photo was used only to raise the emotional temperature of the reader.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 09.05.45Dalrymple points out that since San Pedro Sula

is the city with the world’s highest annual murder rate, it is not difficult to take such photographs. Nor is it difficult to understand why anyone should wish to leave San Pedro Sula.

Dalrymple writes that in Birmingham in the English Midlands, where he used to work, there were

many migrants who had entered the country illegally. The officially accepted reasons for granting asylum—persecution because of race, religion, membership of a social group, or political opinion—didn’t by any means exhaust their reasons for leaving their countries, or even for justifiably fearing to return to them. Governments, alas, are not the only persecutors of people.

Irrespective of their reasons for immigrating illegally,

most of these people had had extremely hard, unenviable lives, and it was difficult not to sympathise with most of them as individuals.

However,

some were criminals pure and simple, seeking a more fertile field in which to sow and reap.

The time of optimism

The optimists

The optimists

Dalrymple comes across a reference in the Guardian to Maoist groups in the West during the late 1960s, a time when, the newspaper says approvingly, many young people

threw themselves wholeheartedly into the leftwing politics of optimism.

This was, Dalrymple points out,

during that great time of optimism for the Chinese people that lasted several years,

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.40.43namely the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, in the course of which, Dalrymple points out,

unknown numbers of people were killed, but certainly hundreds of thousands at the least.

During the time of optimism many millions of people in China, Dalrymple reminds us, were

  • persecuted
  • publicly humiliated
  • tortured
  • Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.34.11hounded from their jobs
  • separated from their spouses
  • exiled
  • subjected to forced labour.

All this occurred

to the cheering sound of smashed cultural artifacts, demolished monuments,

and the

hosannas

of large sections of the Western Left.

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Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.34.50Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.41.07 Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.41.45 Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.37.05 Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.37.33 Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.35.48

Fate of the Ferrarese Jews

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 22.03.22Dalrymple points out that Mussolini,

whom some of the Jewish bourgeoisie had strongly supported in the early days of his regime, opportunistically enacted antisemitic laws to curry favour with Hitler.

Some 96 of the 300 Jews of the city of Ferrara, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, were deported to Poland, and only five of these survived.

Bassani and his wife Valeria in 1943

Bassani and his wife Valeria in 1943

Dalrymple writes that the novelist Giorgio Bassani intends the reader of his Gli occhiali d’oro (1958)

to draw a parallel between the way in which [the homosexual protagonist] Dr Fadigati is treated and the increasing persecution of the narrator [a Jewish student].

Cimitero Ebraico di Ferrara: the entrance, and Bassani's grave

Cimitero ebraico di Ferrara: the entrance, and Bassani’s grave

If we had only listened to Honeyford

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 22.25.58If we had done so, we should not have sown what we are reaping

Ray Honeyford, who was headmaster of a ghetto school in Bradford in the early 1980s, knew, writes Dalrymple, that

the official multiculturalist educational policies that he was expected to implement would sooner or later lead to social disaster.

When he exposed the folly of these policies,

the advocates of ‘diversity’, who maintain that all cultures are equal but that opinions other than their own are forbidden, mounted a vicious and vituperative campaign against him. He was branded a near-murderous racist and drummed out of his job.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 22.26.28His ideas were

logical, sensible, and coherent. He argued that Islamic immigrants needed to be integrated fully into British society. He did not believe that the cultural identity necessary to prevent the balkanisation of our cities into warring ethnic and religious factions implied a deadening cultural or religious uniformity. On the contrary.

He

enunciated painful truths that were tangential to his central argument: for example, that Pakistan (the country of origin of most of the immigrants in his area) had been unable throughout its history to develop either democratic institutions or a culture of tolerance.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 22.25.16The ghetto school, called Drummond Middle, was a

piece of high-Victorian public architecture, grand without being overbearing, and conveying implicit aesthetic and moral lessons to its pupils, however humble the homes from which they came. The collapse of the cultural confidence that had produced such a school building was soon complete: after Honeyford’s departure, the school quickly received an Urdu name and was burned down beyond repair by an arsonist.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 22.26.14Honeyford brought his troubles down upon him when he published an article exposing the follies of multicultural education in the Salisbury Review. The Review’s name

hardly ever appears without the qualification that it is rabidly right-wing, implying that no intellectual engagement with the ideas expressed in it is ever necessary—only the kind of opposition appropriate to dealing with brownshirts and blackshirts.

An unremitting campaign gathered steam,

under the leadership of local politicians and pressure groups, some of which sprang up expressly to get him fired. He received death threats. A few small children learned from their parents to chant ‘Ray-cist! Ray-cist!’ at him and to hold up denunciatory placards, some with a skull and crossbones. The Bradford Education Authority considered the possibility of a court order against the demonstrators, but it decided that such an order would inflame passions. Thus political extremists learned a valuable lesson: intimidation pays.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 22.25.44Honeyford was

mild-mannered and unexcitable. He was a believer in the virtues of plain speaking—formerly a tradition in the north of England. He thought that different opinions might be tolerated, not having grasped that the purpose of those who argue for cultural diversity is to impose ideological uniformity.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 22.25.28He believed in the redemptive power of education and in

the duty of schools to give the children of immigrants the same educational opportunities as everyone else. His only regret about the affair was that it drastically shortened his teaching career. It is a tribute to the power of Orwellian language that a man who believed these things should successfully have been labeled a racist.

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Madness and malevolence on the internet

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 01.57.36James Lasdun, a novelist and poet, became the victim, Dalrymple writes, of calumnies and of

e-mails to his employers accusing him of things that were both inherently unlikely and difficult to disprove. Lasdun stood accused of ‘crimes’ which always besmirch in the modern world: racism, sexism, harassment, etc.

Give Me Everything You Have, Lasdun’s memoir, describes, says Dalrymple

a modern vice as well as an ancient virtue, or at least a modern way of putting a vice into action: persecution by internet being a dark side of the information age. Each of us is but the press of the send button away from vicious denunciation, character assassination and the destruction of our reputation.