Monday, March 29, 2010

Seeing past the left and the right

If a writer gets unjustly sent to a forced-labour camp or a government persecutes homosexuals anyone with a voice, a pen (or nowadays a computer) should condemn it.

And these crimes against basic human rights should be condemned publicly whether they were done by leftist governments or right-wing governments.

This seems to me to be the reasoning put by Spanish writer Antonio Muñoz Molina and I find it difficult to argue with.

Also quoted in a different editorial the usually left-leaning El Pais newspaper he sets out a number of relevant examples of Western European intellectuals failing in their moral duty, maintaining that:

A regime, a guerilla movement, need only proclaim that it is on the left — then it is treated with every kind of indulgence by French and Spanish columnists who don’t have to live with it; or with the romantic sympathy of well-intentioned, earnest people in England and Scandinavia, who are capable of shedding tears over a starving stray cat, but can be hard as flint at the sight of human blood on the TV screen.

If we don’t insist on complete intellectual honesty and we make excuses for someone because of their supposed political positioning we are allowing the kind of cowardly doublethink that George Orwell described so well in Animal Farm.

No comments: