Kevin Myers, Independent (Dublin), July 23 2008
On the one hand, I expected some uproar in Ireland over my piece about Ethiopia on July 10. But there really wasn’t any. On the other, I didn’t expect an attempt to jail me by a state-sponsored body. Yet Denise Charlton, of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, has urged An Garda Siochana to investigate me under a special law, by which I could be tried and imprisoned for two years without even the benefit of a jury.
Oh, Denise, Denise, you silly, silly little girl: have you nothing better to do with your time and talents than to try to get someone jailed for saying something you dislike? So there we are. The apparatchiks of the equality industry merely have to contemplate the sector of their psyche wherein their self-righteous emotions reside: and if these are sufficiently overwrought, they decide that a hate-crime has been committed.
Actually, I hate no-one. Personal, political and racial hatreds are the most corrosive and ruinous of all passions. Why, I don’t even hate Robert Mugabe, or his chum, the former Ethiopian dictator, the lovely Mengistu, who is hiding out in Zimbabwe, or the Emperor Bokassa, or Idi Amin, and any of those fine fellows who have brought such lustre to the name of Africa.
And so, not hating, I certainly don’t want anyone to hate anyone else either. However, I know and feel and applaud measured hostility, the guardian of our civilisation, and the father of our laws. Measured hostility is what puts the gunman behind bars: it drives the mugger from the street and the burglar from our homes.
It also protects freedom of speech from those who would steal it from us—most particularly in Ireland of today, the quango thought-police of doctrinaire liberalism, and single-issue vigilantes in the media.
This latter group is most conspicuous in Metro Eireann, the magazine of full-time, professional immigrants: that is, immigrants who write about immigration. Gosh: what interesting and varied lives you people lead!
METRO e-mailed me the following questions. “Do you agree with the charges levelled against you by the Immigrant Council of Ireland (namely that the article can be seen as inspiring racial hatred?) Why/why not?
“2. Do you agree that your article could be misunderstood in some quarters? If so then what is the main idea of it and what was it really trying to say?
“3. Do you agree that some of the statements you made could be offensive to people from Africa who live in Ireland? Did you think about them when writing the piece?
“4. It’s definately (sic) not the first time that your writing offended somebody. Can you recall any other instances/ official complaints/death threats etc that you got from, say, the Irish republicans?
“That is all. It would be great if you could answer these questions or give your comment in any way you wish. I just want to add that there are a lot of Africans associated with Metro Eireann and they’re all very offended. So we’ll have to run comments from the African community, aid groups etc and it would be really great to have your comment to balance all of that.”
So, “a lot of Africans” are “all very offended”, are they? All of them? The poor dears. Well, if the countries on whose behalf they get so easily offended are so bloody marvellous—Sudan? Rwanda? Zimbabwe? Sierre Leone? Congo? Somalia? Eritrea? Etcetera?—why aren’t they enjoying themselves back home?
Why are they here, working for a magazine which cheerfully invites me to incriminate myself before our new thought-police? Or which thinks that journalistic balance consists of Lots of Offended Africans of Metro, plus anyone else they can enlist, versus little old me?
And in that contest, by God, I know the sword whereby I stand: the measured hostility that comes from a Tolerant, European Secular Christian Order, the very one that allows Metro people come from all over the world to work here, and ask me stupid questions, and even be offended.
Its origins lie in the Christian ore of our history. It was forged in its present form in Europe’s evil wars of the 20th century, where it was tempered in the Holocaust and shaped against the anvil of communism. TESCO stands for personal freedom, unlike the new authoritarian “liberalism” that neo-Leninist state functionaries are now making into an official political orthodoxy.
ONE of these orthodoxies is that Africa’s woes are the legacy of “colonialism”. But Ethiopia (formerly Abyssinia, and far older than any European state) was never colonised.
However, it was conquered by the Italians in 1936, and liberated in 1941 by a British army led by General Sir Allan Cunningham: a Dubliner, after whom a road in Addis Ababa is still named. This final titbit comes from one of a half-dozen Ethiopians who e-mailed me, supporting my attempts to broaden the discussion about Africa away from the grotesque pieties of simple victimhood.
Accepting criticism of one’s own country, and from a foreigner like me, is not easy: so thank you, Oh gentlemen of Ethiopia, for truly embodying the principles of TESCO. Metro, please copy.
[Editor’s Note: Kevin Myers’s article and a follow-up article accusing him of racism can be read starting here.]
Kevin Myers, Independent.IE, July 22 2008
Last Thursday week, with famine approaching yet again, I wondered about the wisdom of forking out yet more aid to Ethiopia. Since the great famine of the mid-1980s, Ethiopia’s population has soared from 33.5 million to 78 million.
Now, I do not write civil service reports for the United Nations: I write a newspaper column, and I was deliberately strong in my use of language—as indeed I had been when writing reports from Ethiopia at the height of that terrible Famine.
I was sure that my column would arouse some hostility: my concerns were intensified when I saw the headline: “Africa has given the world nothing but AIDS.” Which was not quite what I said—the missing “almost” goes a long way; and anyway, my article was about aid, not AIDS.
Since dear old Ireland can often enough resemble Lynch Mob Central on PC issues, I braced myself for the worst: and sure enough, in poured the emails. Three hundred on the first day, soon reaching over 800: but, amazingly, 90pc were in my support, and mostly from baffled, decent and worried people. The minority who attacked me were risibly predictable, expressing themselves with a vindictive and uninquiring moral superiority. (Why do so many of those who purport to love mankind actually hate people so?)
We did more in Ethiopia a quarter of a century ago than just rescue children from terrible death through starvation: we also saved an evil, misogynistic and dysfunctional social system. Presuming that half the existing population (say, 17 million) of the mid 1980s is now dead through non-famine causes, the total added population from that time is some 60 million, around half of them female.
That is, Ethiopia has effectively gained the entire population of the United Kingdom since the famine. But at least 80pc of Ethiopian girls are circumcised, meaning that no less than 24 million girls suffered this fate, usually without anaesthetics or antiseptic. The UN estimates that 12pc of girls die through septicaemia, spinal convulsions, trauma and blood-loss after circumcision which probably means that around three million little Ethiopian girls have been butchered since the famine—roughly the same as the number of Jewish women who died in the Holocaust.
So what is the moral justification for saving a baby from death through hunger, in order to give her an even more agonising, almost sacrificial, death aged eight or 13? The practice could have been stamped out, with sufficient political will, as sutti in India once was. And the feminists of the west would never have allowed such unconditional aid to be given to such a wicked and brutal society if it had been run by white men.
But, instead, the state was run by black males, for whom a special race-and-gender dispensation apparently applies: thus the two most politically incorrect sins of our age—sexism and racism—by some mysterious moral process, akin to the mathematics of the double-negative, annul one another, and produce an unquestioned positive virtue, called Ethiopia.
I am not innocent in all this. The people of Ireland remained in ignorance of the reality of Africa because of cowardly journalists like me. When I went to Ethiopia just over 20 years ago, I saw many things I never reported—such as the menacing effect of gangs of young men with Kalashnikovs everywhere, while women did all the work. In the very middle of starvation and death, men spent their time drinking the local hooch in the boonabate shebeens. Alongside the boonabates were shanty-brothels, to which drinkers would casually repair, to briefly relieve themselves in the scarred orifice of some wretched prostitute (whom God preserve and protect). I saw all this and did not report it, nor the anger of the Irish aid workers at the sexual incontinence and fecklessness of Ethiopian men. Why? Because I wanted to write much-acclaimed, tear-jerkingly purple prose about wide-eyed, fly-infested children—not cold, unpopular and even “racist” accusations about African male culpability.
Am I able to rebut good and honourable people like John O’Shea, who are now warning us that once again, we must feed the starving Ethiopian children? No, of course I’m not. But I am lost in awe at the dreadful options open to us. This is the greatest moral quandary facing the world. We cannot allow the starving children of Ethiopia to die.
Yet the wide-eyed children of 1984-86, who were saved by western medicines and foodstuffs, helped begin the greatest population explosion in human history, which will bring Ethiopia’s population to 170 million by 2050. By that time, Nigeria’s population will be 340 million, (up from just 19 million in 1930). The same is true over much of Africa.
Thus we are heading towards a demographic holocaust, with a potential premature loss of life far exceeding that of all the wars of the 20th Century. This terrible truth cannot be ignored.
But back in Ireland, there are sanctimonious ginger-groups, which yearn to prevent discussion, and even to imprison those of us who try, however imperfectly, to expose the truth about Africa. And of that saccharine, sickly shower, more tomorrow.