Sunday, August 10, 2008

Watch for the Leafless Trees

Read Nick Cohen at once. He is on fire today. The story from Solzhenitsyn reminds me that Simone de Beauvoir was once very impressed by the paradise being created by Mao in China. She was shown what she wanted to see and returned to tell the French left of the greatness and humanity of the biggest serial killer the world has ever known - 70 million corpses at least. At about the same time a Russian diplomat noted there were no leaves on the trees. He knew why. The people, having been starved by Mao's decision to sell the harvests abroad to pay for his nuclear programme, were eating them. Nick is right to ask: have we learned nothing from the twentieth century?


  1. “As the planet warms, I'm damned if I can see an alternative to despair, but I do know that wishful thinking isn't it.”

    ...especially in a world that remains committed to population growth.

    The flaw really is not with China, but with the deteriorating relationship between the earth’s ecosystem and the global economy, or what you might call a clash between a thought system based upon observation and logic, and another that relies upon mad scientists wanting to save the world with carbon capture technology and low- energy light bulbs...

    Lord gimme strength... (would somebody please shoot the buggers)!

  2. My understanding is that part of the Olympic opening ceremony was faked for television. Viewers thought they were watching live fireworks but in fact some of the fireworks were computer-generated images which had taken about a year to create.

    So, despairingly, one supposes that the Chinese have learned to perfect the Big Lie for the world's useful idiots and put fake leaves on the trees.

    What mankind learned from the twentieth century that he did not already know would make an interesting read. What he did already know is on rampant form in Beijing and, courtesy of Vlad the Poisoner, now in the Caucasus too. It's been a good week for the Four Horsemen.

  3. Great comment, Mark.

    At least G.W.B. is growing a backbone and starting to make some noises about human rights abuses in China. Of course, as he's a guest, this is seen as very bad form. Some of our American contingent are feeling the backlash as their itineraries get completely screwed up by the Beijing authorities.

    Well, well. It IS a Great Wall. Stronger in many ways than the Iron Curtain, for it seems to be permeable...but isn't.