What does it say about the BBC that they have published a string of articles and photos in recognition of Fidel Castro’s 80th birthday, as well as a number of articles enquiring solicitously about his health? (I’ll be out by 100′ says Castro; Castro ‘will be back in weeks’ )
For one thing, it shows a naked admiration of power for its own sake. This article makes clear what is remarkable about Castro: “President Castro has outlasted no fewer than nine American presidents during his 47-year rule”
Ah, but BBC, this is not an achievement, it’s an indictment (as well as a compliment to the planned stable succession of US democracy).
According to Paul Reynolds, “He has cut a giant figure on the world stage during the 47 years he has controlled Cuba”
That’s right, all the world’s a stage etc. (much as I respect Paul Reynolds, I must say this is a duff note to strike, and that giving Castro a 50% rating in the balance of history will not do and is not objective). Why does the BBC need two articles, both venerating the dictator- one describing him as ‘the great survivor’, the other as a ‘world icon’?
Surely this is a root bias at the Beeb- for them the ideals of communism are rather romantic, the struggle of the Cold War the stuff of legend. For me, however, the Cold War is the great tragedy and its inciters great criminals.
If one cannot see that Castro is a bully with nothing to recommend him (if I don’t view him thus, I betray his many victims without a profile for history to view), how can one see objectively the more vibrant tyrants of today, ideologist heirs such as Chavez, Kim Jung Il and, more urgently, Ahmadinejad?
Answer: one can’t.
Perhaps the BBC would argue that there is nothing wrong in seeing good in Castro, where it exists. They repeatedly point to healthcare as his great achievement. I have heard otherwise, however (and, being objective, could one not suppose that a Cuba without the canker of communism and with a vibrant 21st century relationship with the USA would do much better for its people?).
From the blog I just linked, an apt quote with which to finish which shows how the BBC is even ahead of the liberal press pack around the world:
“Contrary to the media’s puerile awe at the 79-year-old Castro’s significance — he’s often reverently called “the longest-serving” Latin American ruler or “maverick leader” — he is one of the world’s most brutal, ruthless tyrants. And with popular democracy blossoming all over the world, pretending that Cuba’s an exception and Cuba’s people have no desire for freedom isn’t credible.”
At the BBC, not longest-serving or maverick, but “the great survivor” and a “giant figure”. Praise indeed.
See also: Tim Blair on the tyrant trail (via Instapundit)