Since my hastily written piece yesterday, our conservative press has mercifully counterbalanced the emetic encomiums of McGuinness coming from the likes of the BBC, Blair and Corbyn.
The IRA chieftain has been correctly described as a cold-blooded mass murderer, and heartfelt wishes have been expressed that he rot in hell for all eternity. Photographs of his blood-soaked victims have covered newspaper spreads. His admirers have been appropriately flogged in public.
But alas even our conservative press isn’t all that clever. It too falls victim to modern cults. It too fails to delve into such matters at sufficient depth.
Hence, having said all the right things about the dead butcher, The Mail attacked the BBC’s John Simpson for daring to compare McGuinness to the canonised hero Nelson Mandela. “I really do despair,” wrote The Mail’s Steven Glover.
Comparing the two, Simpson said in his inimitable style that they should be seen “on that kind of side of the ledger”. Now I had my own issues with Simpson as far back as the early ‘90s, when he was covering all those glasnosts and perestroikas with schoolgirlish gasps of delight.
But here I must spring to his defence. McGuinness and Mandela do belong on the same ‘side of the ledger’, although not in the sense in which Simpson meant. Mutatis mutandis, the two are typologically close in that both were terrorists, murderers and torturers.
The gist of Glover’s despair is that, while blacks “were denied basic human rights” in South Africa, McGuinness operated against “the United Kingdom… where there were free elections and a democratically elected government”.
This belief in the redemptive value of a particular political method is deeply moving if not particularly intelligent.
Hitler’s government was democratically elected – would Glover have objected to a sniper’s bullet nipping it in the bud in 1933? Russia’s tsarist government wasn’t democratically elected – would Mr Glover have hailed the revolutionary terror that set the stage for the subsequent Bolshevik takeover? With the foreknowledge of the consequences in both cases?
Perhaps. After all, Mark Twain, Glover’s more talented predecessor in the useful idiocy business, showed the way. At the height of the anti-tsarist terror campaign, he wrote: “If such a government cannot be overthrown otherwise than by dynamite, then thank God for dynamite!” One wonders if, had he lived long enough to see it, Twain would have thanked God for the ensuing slaughter of millions.
One can infer that Glover welcomes not only Mandela’s murderous activities but also the hell unleashed in South Africa as a direct result. Blacks, whose human rights were so egregiously denied by apartheid, are now suffering from the kind of violence they never experienced under that, admittedly unsavoury, rule.
The country hatched out of Mandela’s version of freedom has one of the world’s highest crime rates, including murders, assaults and rapes (adult, child, infant and elderly).
Around 50 people are murdered every day, which is more by an order of magnitude than under apartheid. Over 40 per cent of South African women have been raped in their lifetime, while over 25 per cent of South African men admit to rape, half of them to more than one.
The cult of Mandela is as unfortunate as it’s understandable. Having lost God, modernity seeks idols, and Mandela was cast in this role while still doing time for terrorism. But all idols are false by definition, and Mandela is no exception.
The African National Congress, led by Mandela until his 1963 trial and after his 1990 release, was a Marxist terrorist organisation committed to the violent overthrow of the government. In that undertaking the ANC was assisted by the Soviets and their satellites, mainly Cuban and East German.
And it wasn’t just with arms: East German Stasi helped the ANC set up ‘Quatro’, the detention centre across the border in Angola. There dozens of anti-Marxists were tortured and murdered.
Mandela’s ANC thus received assistance from the same quarters as McGuinness’s IRA. In that spirit of international cooperation, the IRA sent its bomb-making experts to train aspiring ANC murderers, which greatly improved their efficiency.
However, the ANC didn’t just adopt foreign techniques. Some indigenous touches were added, such as the widespread practice of ‘necklacing’, whereby an old tyre was filled with petrol, put around a dissident’s neck and set alight.
All that was going on at the height of the Cold War, when direct association with the Soviets still carried some stigma in the West. That’s why any evidence of the ANC’s – and IRA’s – Marxist nature was routinely hushed up in the West’s predominantly liberal press.
Also kept under wraps was Mandela’s handwritten essay How to Be a Good Communist, in which he promised that “South Africa will be a land of milk and honey under a Communist government.”
But good communists know that war can be waged not only by violence but also by what Lenin called ‘legalism’ and what today would be called ‘peace process’. An intelligent man, Mandela grasped the situation. Guns not being the realistic long-term option, he had to become the prophet of peace. Parallels with McGuinness are screaming – is anyone listening?
Regardless of his personal participation in mass murder or lack thereof, Mandela is responsible for anything perpetrated on his watch by the organisation he led. Similarly, McGuinness, who was more hands-on, is responsible for every bomb, shooting and torture perpetrated by his ghastly gang.
So, like Glover, I really do despair too – at a world that has replaced faith with credulity, worship with idolatry and sound analysis with facile sentimentality.