'refers to Western journalists, travellers and intellectuals who gave their blessing – often with evangelistic fervour – to tyrannies and tyrants, thereby convincing politicians and public that utopias rather than Belsens thrived.'It is a story that I know well but one that does deserve repetition because I don't think that many people do know how so many on the left of western politics covered up the evil of communist Russia, and indeed China as well.
What struck me when listening to the programme was how those who criticised Russia were the ones that were disbelieved and whose careers suffered at the time whilst those that supported the evil regimes were rewarded:
'In 1952 Doris Lessing, a British writer who has since won the Nobel Prize for Literature, was part of a delegation visiting the Soviet Union.I didn't hear the second part but was struck by the BBC's own summary:
Her memories of the trip are clear and unforgiving:
“I was taken around and shown things as a ‘useful idiot’... that’s what my role was. I can’t understand why I was so gullible.”
She was not the only one. The Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw and American journalist Walter Duranty were some of those people who also visited the Soviet Union.
They mingled with political leaders, were escorted into the countryside by Joseph Stalin’s secret police, and returned home to speak and write of ‘a land of hope’ with ‘evils retreating before the spread of communism’.
However as stories mounted of mass murder and starvation in parts of Russia and the Ukraine, reporters such as Gareth Jones and Malcolm Muggeridge investigated and reported on ‘the creation of one enormous Belsen’.
Duranty responded with an article in the New York Times headed ‘Story of the famine is bunk’, and got an exclusive interview with Stalin.
Soon after, Jones died and Muggeridge’s career nose-dived. Duranty was awarded a Pulitzer.'
'The journalist and historian Jonathan Mirsky, who has written extensively on China, describes former leader Chairman Mao as:'Historical context'? 'HISTORICAL CONTEXT'! Mao's regime killed around 50 million people but the BBC's hero Tony Benn thinks Mao's actions must be seen in 'historical context'. Maybe someone could ask Tony Benn what 'historical context' justified the killing of 50 million people in communist China? Does Tony Benn also think that the millions of deaths ordered by Lenin and Stalin and the suffering in the gulags has to be seen in 'historical context'? What about the seven million Jews killed by Hitler's Nazis in Germany; do they have to be seen in historical context'? At this point Tony Benn would no doubt lean back and suck on a metaphorical pipe and tell you that he fought against Nazism during the second world war. Indeed you did Mr Benn, indeed you did but you still say that the deaths of millions more people needs to be seen in 'historical context'!
“He had an enormous impact on China – but he was a monster… and…responsible for the deaths of 40 million people.”
But the veteran British politician Tony Benn argues that Mao played a significant role in building China's global importance and economic power - and that his actions - both good and bad - must be seen in historical context.
From Mao’s China, General Pinochet’s Chile, Apartheid-controlled South Africa, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, to President Ahmadinejad’s Iran, why – and how – have so many supposedly intelligent people been manipulated by dictators into saying good things about bad regimes?'
I wonder who the useful idiots of today are? Those who believed that the 'Arab Spring' would end other than with Islamist regimes perhaps.