July 17, 2000
to Mel Gibson
promise that one day soon I'll see The
Patriot. It's only just been released over here, but believe
me I was excited when I first heard about the film. At last, I thought,
a film that is proud to be American. And it sounds like it is proud.
Of course, being a Limey, I have this niggle with the idea that
we burned women and children in locked churches when we
did not; but compared to the blood libels we have against us
from the Irish this is nothing.
way I thought I'd write this open letter to you to suggest some
further Brit bashing, but on a more constructive line, like the
truth. The problem is that your Limey squeezing films always seem
to fall on the killer facts like the non-torture of William Wallace
or the non-church burning in Patriot. I'm here to help.
treatment of the Irish is probably one of the greatest distortions
there is. Let me be plain here, we were not good towards the Irish
but it wasn't out of malice. The fact was that there was
this potential French military base just off our shores, what were
we supposed to do give them baguette baking lessons? We were
ham fisted at times, but Ireland was not about the extinction of
a culture (the Vikings looked after that a few hundred years before
us) but about strategic survival.
is one exception to this, Cromwell.
The regicide did carry out the most appalling atrocities acts in
his campaign in Ireland, and genocide is not too strong a term for
this. This is a case of why warfare should not be for ideological
ends, in this case conversion from the church of Rome to that of
Geneva. In fact, I think it is safe to say that this was, in the
words of our very own Mr.
Blair, the "first
progressive war". The problem with doing this as a film is that
although the British were the bad guys, the good guys didn't win
about a more contemporary film on Ireland, and how the British betrayed
a people there? I'm not talking about the sad demise of the Home
Rule party and its replacement by the proto-fascists of Sinn
Fein and the IRA. Michael Collins was not your fault and the
English are not bad at idolising this particular nasty specimen
after all Mussolini would look good next to De Valera. What
about the people of Ulster?
in 1912, a small god fearing band of people who come together to
make a solemn covenant (shades of the Pilgrim Fathers here) that
they will not be ruled by their neighbours. The British ruling classes
sneer as they see these farmers and working men as infernal nuisances
and pledge to sell them off just to get rid of them. And then comes
(the First World) war and instead of giving aid and comfort to the
enemy, they loyally fight for their oppressor, seeing the flower
of their youth die on the first day of the Somme. And yes, they
win in the end, for a few years.
this has it all, British betrayal, honest salt of the earth types
fighting against tyranny, flower of the youth dying in the trenches,
and a good dash of celtic type music for the sound track. Here,
Mr. Gibson, the British need to be bashed.
I haven't spelt this wrong, these were the Dutch speaking peoples
of South Africa with whom the British fought the Boer War. Once
again the British were on the side of wrong. And we have a spectacularly
evil cast here. Cecil Rhodes, the manic capitalist who is perfectly
prepared to use the government to make him even richer. Milner,
the arch racist who allowed himself to become the tool of the mine
owners and diamond monopolists led by Rhodes. Joseph Chamberlain,
the lying incompetent who was British minister for the colonies.
And the Tarlington figure, Kitchner, the British commander who brought
in the idea of concentration camps from the Spanish campaign in
Cuba (no the British did not invent concentration camps).
capitalists using the state to make them richer, against honest
Boer farmers aiming to keep their republic. The subjugation of the
brave Boers through the camps with appalling death rates for both
black and white. They may not be the most politically correct tribe
in Africa, but they did suffer a great injustice at the hands of
THERE ARE MORE
fact is, Mel, that there are plenty of other examples of where the
English became monsters. The campaign against the Mahdi in Sudan
where we had no business being there but still massacred thousands
of tribesmen on the way. The betrayal of Rhodesia. The genocide
against the Tasmanian aborigines.
is not to say that we are monsters in our natural state. There is
a good case for saying that as imperialists we were somewhat more
humane than the French, Germans, Japanese or Belgians. That however
is not a hard feat. But on our own we English are good, honest and
decent people. Where do you think the Americans came from? What
about the Industrial revolution, Adam Smith, John Wesley?
were corrupted by Empire, and your country will be too. How about
a movie on that?
If any readers know Mr. Gibson's address or that of his agent
please pass on my letter, as I seem to have misplaced my
contribution of $50 or more will get you a copy of Ronald Radosh's
out-of-print classic study of the Old Right conservatives, Prophets
on the Right: Profiles of Conservative Critics of American Globalism.
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