We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

“Such lovely families and very proud of their sons.”

I urge you to read a post by Stephen Pollard. He links to a Guardian articled headed, breathtakingly, “Welsh pensioner turns freedom fighter”. Why do I say “breathtakingly”? Because the freedom-fighting of the woman profiled by the Guardian, Anne Gwynne, consists of the fact that she went to ‘Occupied Palestine’ the better to be chummy with the families of two suicide bombers who killed twenty-three Israeli civilians. Or who “went on the mission to Tel Aviv” as she winningly puts it, before adding, “They are such lovely families and very proud of their sons.”

The woman herself is of a recurring though despicable type: the White Liberal Murder-Groupie. OK, you’ve seen her like before, swooning over the Khmer Rouge or the Black Panthers. We are up to about Mk VIII by now, with Improved Extra Gush Factor. Let us wash our minds of her and move on.

But the Guardian’s commentary hits a new low, and the Guardian once had some honour to lose. Did you know that it was once the Manchester Guardian, provincial in the best sense, standing for a tradition of Nonconformist self-improvement? Think on that and then re-read that headline describing a woman who pants to to further help the killers in their bloody work: Welsh pensioner turns freedom fighter.

Then look at the first sentence: Anne Gwynne is conducting her own war on terrorism. Mrs Gwynne did not write that, the reporter, Chris McGreal wrote it. Probably didn’t think about it much.

Did I say “the Guardian’s commentary” just then? Silly of me, it isn’t a commentary. The nearest it comes to an effort at any of that “dig deeper, ask the tough questions” stuff reporters and analysts are meant to do is this:

Twenty-three people died in those bombings in Tel Aviv in January, including many poor foreign workers. Was it wrong?

The answer given, pretty quickly, is “Nah, ‘course not.” Note how McGreal had to drag in that fact that many of the victims weren’t Israelis in order to make even a debating-point case for sympathy. Beyond that one limp line there is no justification offered for the term “freedom fighter” or for calling Anne Gwynne’s activities “her own war against terrorism.” In contrast great detail is offered of the sufferings of the Palestinians (which is as it should be) – but not the slightest scepticism as to whether Anne Gwynne is telling the whole truth. Could McGreal not have made some interjection, asked a few challenging supplementary questions, for instance, when confronted with lines like this: “I used to think it was all excuses, but they [Israeli soldiers] actually believe this shit. We have nothing to kill them with, just a few AK-47s.”? Perhaps he was never going to give the answer I would have given, namely, “Your pals with the bomb-belts seem to slaughter well enough, dearie,” but one would think that the traditions of the Guardian would demand some note of distance, of qualification, of un-acceptance?

An apologia, even when desperately, heartbreakingly wrong, is a sort of bridge between evil and good, an acknowledgement that there is something here that needs explaining. But Chris McGreal saw no necessity for any elaboration. Tip-tap-tip went the swiftly typing fingers and out came the words “freedom fighter”, “her own war on terrorism”, praise as easy and insouciant as a local reporter putting in a good word for the latest charitable efforts of the Womens’ Institute or Rotary Club. As Stephen Pollard concludes, “Ms Gwynne’s evil views are not merely presented without criticism or proper questioning; they are endorsed. And that is, in its own way, also evil.”

[This post originally appeared on my own blog. I have also posted it here because of Blogger problems and to make it as widely known as possible what sort of attitudes the Guardian considers acceptable in its reporters.]

3 comments to “Such lovely families and very proud of their sons.”

  • Elizabeth

    I notice a great humanitarian inconsistency between those who support terrorism against Israel who also support tyrants in Iraq.

  • Speaking as someone from Manchester, I can tell you the Guardian is not the only Mancunian organisation to get silly after moving to the capital.

    Marks and Spencers’ troubles really date from the shift of its head office from Manchester to London.

    Come to think of it, I believe the headquarters of the hyper-merde bank Credit Lyonnais were relocated to Paris, not Lyon, a couple of decades ago, before the debt disaster really took off.

    Could we have a theme here?