Category Archives: Shining Path

Infantile but lethal fantasies of the Left

Socialists of the upper crust and their love of faraway génocidaires

The UK left-wing broadcaster Channel 4 has put out a documentary in praise of Sendero Luminoso (‘Shining Path’), the Maoist cocaine-smuggling group of Peruvian mass murderers.

Richard Willoughby-Gott (educ. Winchester and Corpus Christi College, Oxford), the upper-class English journalist, is currently literary editor of the London newspaper the Guardian. A onetime spy for the Soviet Union, Willoughby-Gott describes the documentary as

a magnificent coup de théâtre.

Dalrymple comments:

Theatre is what Latin American guerrilla movements have always been to this type of west European intellectual. All their mind’s a stage, the ideas and concepts merely players. Guilt-laden that they are excluded by their

  • tastes
  • interests
  • inclinations
  • education
  • dress
  • mode of speech

from communion with the common people of their own country, they project their infantile fantasies of union with the people on to distant lands, from whose peasantry they need fear no rejection.

The Wykhamist-Leninists: Richard Willoughby-Gott speaks in praise of the Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez. To his right is Seumas Milne (educ. Winchester and Balliol College, Oxford), the upper-class ‘executive director of strategy and communications’ for the UK’s Labour Party

Dalrymple given the brush-off by Amnesty apparatchik

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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.

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Murderousness of Leftist intellectuals

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 18.27.37Latin America guerrilla movements, writes Dalrymple,

far from being the spontaneous and justified expression of a downtrodden peasantry, as was the received wisdom among Western intellectuals, were the products of rapidly expanding numbers of university students led by Leftist intellectuals.

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 18.30.21For instance,

the Guatemalan guerrilla group, ORPA, was led by the son of the Guatemalan Nobel prize winner, the novelist Miguel Ángel Asturias. The worst of them, Peru’s Sendero Luminoso, was led by a professor of philosophy, Abimael Guzmán, who very nearly became Peru’s Pol Pot.