Monday, 25 August 2008

A historical, moral and political blur

"We've got to get over thinking we have the moral high ground because I just don't think we do" - Damon Albarn on China in the Sunday Times, interviewed by the wonderful Bryan Appleyard. This is based, apparently, on his study of history: "let it not be forgotten that we sold opium, which we took from India through Hong Kong and, like, disabled vast tracts of China for 80 years...or something like that". The utter fatuity of the argument that we cannot criticise human rights abuses in China because of our imperial history is deeply depressing. Albarn also appears to offer a defence of the catastrophic regime of Mao: "There was, I point out, the awkward fact that Mao Tse-tung killed 70m of his own people, an achievement that puts our own opium trade oppression in the shade. 'I realise that, I am aware of that, but there is also the argument that something like 400m people were taken out of extreme poverty.'"

Er, what argument is that? Historians are agreed that Mao's rule was utterly, utterly devasting for China, with policies actively designed to cause the deaths of millions of people: just about any alternative the mind of man can think of would have been better for its people. If you go there, you see signs that even the Chinese authorities are starting publicly to recognise what a disaster Mao was for China.

Fool. There was always  lingering suspicion in the days of Blur that Albarn was a bit of a prick with all his mockney stuff. Sad to see it confirmed so comprehensively.

Here's the Amnesty page on China. And here's the Free Tibet campaign. Become a member (like your humble blogger), because you do have the moral high ground over Beijing's goons.

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