Morning folks. Boris Johnson, your absconding blogger, reporting for duty.
A FEW RANDOM THOUGHTS
We went out to the cinema the other night, and all we could see was something
called the Interpreter, which imagined an assassination attempt on a Robert
Mugabe figure at the UN. It was interesting to see how Hollywood coped with this
theme, and how director Sydney Pollack tiptoed towards reality but funked it in
the end. We were told that the old dictator had once been a revolutionary hero,
feted in the west. We were shown the degradation of his regime, the corpses in
the football stadium. We were told that Nicole Kidman’s family had been killed
by a landmine, and we were given the tiniest of hints that it had been tough to
be a white inhabitant of this troubled country “in Africa’s south-central belt”.
But on the main point – the heart of the modern Zimbabwean tragedy – the film
was eloquently silent. Sydney Pollack did not have the nerve to address the
wholesale theft of white farmers’ land by Zanu-PF thugs. Why? Because the
vicious Mugabe land-grab is supported by most of black Africa; and even if
America makes ritual denunciations of Mugabe, it just would not have been
possible – or compatible with Hollywood’s PC values – for Pollack to make a film
upholding the right of white colonial settlers to their land. I’m not saying the
film was all bad: it was good to see a thriller about African politics. But it
was a cop-out.
As we left the cinema, a young chap thrust a note into my hand. I flinched. Was
it the black spot? Was he serving me a writ?
“Dear Mr Johnson (he wrote)
I hope you don’t mind this rather direct and brazen attempt to get your support
for a charity venture I am organising this summer.
“I am a 24 year old Edinburgh University graduate (first class) and I and
couple of friends are cycling from Panama City to Los Angeles (5000 miles) for
Central American street children. I know you are very keen on cycling. Would you
be interested in giving us a good luck message for our website?”
Well, all I can say is good luck Gavin! Give em hell. I hope that you and the
rest of your team have a fantastic time and that you raise masses of money for
the street children of central America.
And next time you have a mass cycle ride in foreign parts, perhaps you could
recruit the street children of north London, and stop them swearing and spitting
and making life miserable for everyone over here.