Reflections on Political Violence
By CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS - SLATE
Added: Mon, 10 Jan 2011 23:32:03 UTC
Thanks to LWS for the link.
When Mumtaz Qadri shot Pakistani politician Salman Taseer, he didn't even bother to offer an excuse.
The best political speech I ever heard was delivered by the late Paul Foot, scion of one of England's great radical and socialist families, at the Oxford Union in the late 1960s. The motion before the house was in favor of the African National Congress and its decision to renew "armed struggle" against the white supremacist regime in South Africa. By then, I knew enough about apartheid to be convinced that such a policy was justified almost by definition, but Paul wasn't content with that. Using extraordinary skill and patience, he reviewed the efforts of the trade unions, the legal parliamentary opposition, the churches, the censored but still active press, and all the other constituents of "civil society" to resist or even to ameliorate the conditions imposed on the majority by a pitiless oligarchy and its iron-bound cult of racist and fundamentalist theology. He detailed the efforts of the ANC to make its case at the United Nations and other international forums and chronicled the heroism of its lawyers in defending both individual and communal rights before the rigged South African courts. To every attempt of this sort, as he demonstrated, the response had been increased repression and the confiscation of even more land, more rights, and more liberties. Having at one point laid down the gun, the ANC now had every right to take it up again.
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