"My favourite politician"


By Stephen Pollard
July 8, 2010
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Simply jaw dropping. Even for the FCO.

COMMENTS

Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 15:50

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The FCO Camel Corps lives on ....


Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 15:59

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It's the 'noble savage' syndrome ...


mattpryor

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 16:05

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CNN sacks its reporters for tweeting similar sentiments, and we have ambassadors saying this stuff?

I knew the FCO was notoriously Arabist, but terrorist sympathisers too? It's just not cricket.

Meanwhile, Hezb has had it's attempts to set up a satellite channel in South America thwarted by Mexico:

http://post.ly/mMT

I'm sure Chavez won't miss this opportunity though...


Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 16:38

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http://www.almanar.com.lb/newssite/NewsDetails.aspx?id=144911&language=e...

In an interview with Al-Manar TV on March 21, 2008, Sayyed Fadlullah stated:

The Hebrew state is preparing to celebrate its 60th anniversary – 60 years since it plundered Palestine - in a festival, which will be attended by the countries of the world, most of which still support the Zionist state and consider the resistance movement to be terrorism. This is what led German Chancellor Merkel to visit that plundering country, which extorted and continues to extort Germany, using as a pretext the German Hitlerist-Nazi past, and the placing of the Jews in a holocaust. Zionism has inflated the number of victims in this holocaust beyond imagination.


mattpryor

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 16:54

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I'm writing a letter of complaint to the FCO.


mattpryor

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 17:00

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Speaking of ambassadors, it's also worth reading the comments of James Watt, our ambassador to Jordan:

http://blogs.fco.gov.uk/roller/watt/entry/where_does_this_all_fit

You can tell which side his bread is buttered.


Yvetta

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 17:33

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The FO have already covered for her, saying it was her "personal opinion".
Look at the way her head is covered Islamic-style - she's not sitting in a mosque, for heaven's sake - she should be an ambassador for Britain not for Islam, unless she's a Musim (she's not ... is she?).
I feel some sympathy for the CNN woman, but none for this Guy woman - as an ambassador she should jolly well have the sense to keep her adulation of a bloke who advocates the murder of a third state's citizens and the destruction of that state to herself.


mattpryor

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 17:55

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The best comment I've read about this so far is that expressing "admiration" for Fadlullah based on his views on women's rights is a bit like expressing admiration for Hitler based on his highway projects!


Joshua18

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 18:05

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Joshua18

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 18:10

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'The FO have already covered for her, saying it was her "personal opinion".'

And if the FO hires people with that kind of personal oponion, then it is my personal opinion that the FO is an evil institution.


Joshua18

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 18:20

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Jonathan Hoffman writes:

"In an interview with Al-Manar TV on March 21, 2008, Sayyed Fadlullah stated"

More from that interview:

"...This is what led German Chancellor Merkel to visit that plundering country, which extorted and continues to extort Germany, using as a pretext the German Hitlerist-Nazi past, and the placing of the Jews in a holocaust. Zionism has inflated the number of victims in this holocaust beyond imagination. They say there were six million Jews – not six million, not three million, or anything like that... But the world accepted this [figure], and it does not allow anyone to discuss this."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Hussein_Fadlallah

And at the same link:

"He supported the ideals of Iran's Islamic Revolution and advocated the corresponding Islamic movement in Lebanon. In his sermons, he called for armed resistance to the Israeli occupations of Lebanon, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, along with opposition to the existence of Israel. He held relatively liberal views on the status of women."


Blacklisted Dictator

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 18:35

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The foreign office is playing a clever game, keeping in with the Islamists whilst alienating Israel and diaspora Jewry. It is bound to pay dividends since it has, historically, always done so.

The problem with The JC is that it tends to occasionally see things through a western democratic paradigm. Such blinkered thinking is, in my view, a mistake. Foreign policy is a nunaced business and should not be forced to conform to such narrow ideological restraints.


Blacklisted Dictator

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 19:26

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Stephen has already pointed out that Willy Hague is "no friend of Israel". So would it not be sensible, in such circumstances, if The JC consistently toed the foreign officed line, and accepted that Israel might soon be tickets?

What is the point of UK Jewry backing a losing horse?

Now some of you might baulk at the thought of an Iranian style revolution on the streets of London. Too much sharia law, I hear you say, unlike the Archbishop of Canterbury who fears that there is not enough. (The JC's foreign affairs editor might privately bemoan the strict adherence to Islamic dress codes at The JC's offices, even though, only a fascist, would have banned the burqa.)

So let's all move with the times. Let's forget the narrow western democratic dogma that The JC sometimes subscribes to. It will, after all, take us nowhere.


Yvetta

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 19:37

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I see Our Daph's been busy again.

Britain's Beirut Envoy - another Foreign Office Arabist kind of Guy
http://www.daphneanson.blogspot.com/


Blacklisted Dictator

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 19:57

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Willy Hague setting out UK govt's foreign policy (July 1st 2010)

"I spent three days in Pakistan last week. There as in so many other countries relative poverty does not preclude access to information from numerous sources and it certainly doesn’t stifle interest in the wider world. Half of all Pakistanis are under the age of 20 and 100 million of them have mobile phones. The average person has his or her own opinion on developments in Afghanistan, the rights and wrongs of the Middle East Peace Process as they see them and an impression of the conduct of Britain and the United States in all these arenas. In our relations with Pakistan for example we therefore have to understand that domestic opinion in that country and the British Pakistani Diaspora matter, to the extent that the impact of our expenditure on aid, counter-radicalisation and counter-terrorism in Pakistan may well be undercut unless we are creating a positive impression of Britain to the wider population at the same time. So in addition to my meetings with the President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister I spent a lot of time speaking to opinion formers in the media, business and anybody who was listening through television and twitter. In my mind, such communication will become all the more important over time and as we conduct our diplomacy across the world we overlook international opinion at our peril, and while we cannot possibly hope to dominate the global airwaves we must try ever harder to get our message across. This is a reality that the Obama administration has grasped and articulated most effectively, communicating directly with citizens in the Muslim-majority world. There are many new opportunities for us to work with the United States and other allies in this new environment in ways in which often complement their efforts."


Blacklisted Dictator

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 20:09

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It seems that Francis Guy's statements should be seen in the following context, and one would be naive to imagine that she had made a gaffe:

"the impact of our expenditure on aid, counter-radicalisation and counter-terrorism in Pakistan may well be undercut unless we are creating a positive impression of Britain to the wider population at the same time."

Francis Guy's statement is , whether you like it or not, was made to give "the positive impression of Britain to the wider population".


Blacklisted Dictator

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 20:13

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So what is Hague's foreign policy?

To put it succinctly.. "to counter-terrorism we must openly support it."


Blacklisted Dictator

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 20:18

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Yvetta,

You write: "as an ambassador she should jolly well have the sense to keep her adulation of a bloke who advocates the murder of a third state's citizens and the destruction of that state to herself."

I think that you have misunderstood the context. Francis Guy is not a rogue elephant. She is 100% within the foreign office/William Hague/Nicki Clegg fold.


Yvetta

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 21:16

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I fear you're right, BD - but it looks as if her blogpost has been zapped.
Melanie Phillips provides a link to it bit it's disappeared.
Luckily, that scoop-maker blogger Elder of Ziyon took a photographic copy (or whatever the correct term is) which is on his blog!
Seems the FCO or Guy or both are in a stew about this.


Yvetta

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 21:20

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I think "snapshot" is the word I want.
Good on Elder of Ziyon!


Blacklisted Dictator

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 21:25

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Yvetta,
Maybe Francis Guy was being too open when she adhered to Hague's "to counter-terrorism we must openly support it" line?

Her views are so endemic in the FO, that she did not for one moment believe, that there might be a problem expressing them.

If she is getting flak, she must be in total disbelief.


Blacklisted Dictator

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 21:44

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Yvetta,

Yes, Francis Guy's blogpost has been deleted.

However, you can still post a comment on her blog, although on a different post. I
suppose that the comments are ineviatably moderated before publication.

Here's the link....

http://blogs.fco.gov.uk/roller/guy/entry/ye_gods_of_baal#comment-form


Yvetta

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 21:46

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Perhaps Wee Willie has thrown a wobbly.


Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 21:58

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"it looks as if her blogpost has been zapped."

- Those pesky zionist neocons again........


Blacklisted Dictator

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 22:05

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Jonathan,
I'm having trouble down-loading the foreign office bloggers site. I wonder whether the whole site is in turmoil. Can you down-load it?


Blacklisted Dictator

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 22:19

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Francis Guy blogs on the FO website:

"I went to prison this morning. Not for fun, rather to find out more about conditions inside Lebanon's biggest prison in Roumieh near Beirut. Roumieh is like many prisons round the world, very over-crowded. It was built for around 1,000 prisoners more than 50 years ago and now holds more than 4,000. I have visited many prisons in the countries I have served in; in Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen and Thailand. Some are worse than others. None of them was as over-crowded as Roumieh.

I have been to Roumieh once before to see a Lebanese adaptation of the play, "12 Angry Men" which some of the prisoners performed last February. Some of the actors are there today. They remember that they brought me to tears then. (I can't deny it.) The session today is organised by the producer of the play, and founder of the drama-therapy group in the prison, Zeina Daccache. The Norwegian Ambassador is there too as well as four journalists. We are all women. A point not unnoticed. We join in the therapy games. They help us understand better the situation of the prisoners and they give us time to get to know each other a little. We didn't get inside the cells. Perhaps we don't need to but to appreciate truly the overcrowded conditions it would help. When I ask how many of them share a cell, the prisoners cheerfully demonstrate how in a space of 2m x 1.6m (think about it.. the size of a decent-sized double bed) 5 of them try and sleep (and live). For people who share a bucket of cold water filled during the night when the water comes, they all smell of clean soap. It is hard not to empathise. Nearly 70% of the prisoners in Roumieh have not yet been tried. One of those in the session with us had been in prison for 5 years but was only going to court tomorrow. Others present were convicted murderers and admitted it. All of them agreed that Zeina had brought them dignity and had given them hope that the outside world understood their condition and had begun to treat them like human beings. They acknowledge the efforts of the Minister of Interior but they want to see some basic changes soon.

What can outsiders do to help? Keep supporting small projects that bring relief like Zeina's. Keep supporting wider projects like the EU's overall programme in the justice sector to try and improve the management of justice in Lebanon. Visit the prisoners. Support the Minister of Interior in his aims for reforms. etc etc.

As ever on leaving a prison, I look skyward and enjoy the freedom of the space above me. Spare a thought for the incarcerated around the world now and again.
"You expect too much. You can't ask the Lebanese to be like the Swiss. So said one of my diplomatic colleagues to me last week. It made me think. At one level I don't think it is to ask too much to expect some progress towards the implementation of the rule of law, the end to corruption and some basic infrastructural planning. But bizarrely it is this latter that in some ways causes the most problems."


jose (not verified)

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 22:31

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That's like saying "I admire Hitler because he loved so much dogs. Of course I know he wanted to eradicate the Jews, but what else would you expect him to do?"

Moral relativism.


Yvetta

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 22:41

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What bunkum from a FO spokesman when he said it was her personal opinion - it ceases to be purely personal since the blog appeared on an official FCO site: despicable.


Blacklisted Dictator

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 22:43

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Yvetta,

I wonder whether the ambassadors blog direct, or whether their stuff is sent to the FO for editing. I would imagine that it is the latter. If it isn't, it soon will be!


Yvetta

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 22:55

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I would think they have unilateral control. But you may be right. It reminds me of those editors' posts on the BBC.
My friend Daph - I don't think I'm betraying any confidences - tells me she posted this on Guy's blog s'arvo (sorry, that's Strine for "this afternoon") and a pop-up appeared saying in view of its length it was being looked at as spam). Guess it never received an answer LOL:
"Ms Guy, I respectfully ask whether it is appropriate for you, as the British ambassador, to write an unqualified eulogy for a man who by all accounts advocated the suicide bombings of citizens of Israel and sought the destruction of the State of Israel? In other words, is it now acceptable for a British ambassador to one country to write in glowing terms about a public figure, indeed a national leader, in the country to which he/she is assigned who advocates the destruction of a third?I understand that this gentleman had progressive views on the status of women, and I would laud him for that, but you have not stated why precisely you laud him; you have not dissociated yourself from his uncompromising attitude towards Israel; and you have failed to state whether or not your adulatory general attitude reflects that of the Foreign Office, which as you know has always been regarded as Arabist. I find your words deeply disturbing, given the ambassadorial position you hold. Would you care to enlighten me of where precisely you stand?"


Blacklisted Dictator

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 22:56

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It would certainly be worth setting up "Foreign Office Blog/Twitter Watch."

Is anybody interested?


Yvetta

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 09:19

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That sounds useful - for those who can negotiate Twitter (I'm not one of 'em).

In the clear light of morning I now believe that the Guy post wasn't taken down owing to shame or an FCO edict but because so many of what JH has called "Zionist neo-cons" invaded the nice cosy congratulatory comments section.


Blacklisted Dictator

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 09:27

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Yvetta,
I can't negotiate twitter either.
I was just being flash.


Yvetta

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 11:10

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Is this the same post as she had yesterday, it appears to be - though the comments (she had a few, nice ones of course) don't come up.
I Binged Frances Guy and her pearls of unwisdom flashed onto the screen but it was only when I pressed Cached that this appeared in front of me(being technologivally challenged I don't know whether it is a fluke that I called it up - in other words whether it is supposed to have been removed and the removal hasn't been quite effective, or whether it's been edited in some way. Maybe it's significant that Googling by this process does NOT bring it up. (Good old Bing, then!)
The passing of decent men
Posted 05 July 2010 by Frances Guy | 1 comments
One of the privileges of being a diplomat is the people you meet; great and small, passionate and furious. People in Lebanon like to ask me which politician I admire most. It is an unfair question, obviously, and many are seeking to make a political response of their own. I usually avoid answering by referring to those I enjoy meeting the most and those that impress me the most. Until yesterday my preferred answer was to refer to Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, head of the Shia clergy in Lebanon and much admired leader of many Shia muslims throughout the world. When you visited him you could be sure of a real debate, a respectful argument and you knew you would leave his presence feeling a better person. That for me is the real effect of a true man of religion; leaving an impact on everyone he meets, no matter what their faith. Sheikh Fadlallah passed away yesterday. Lebanon is a lesser place the day after but his absence will be felt well beyond Lebanon's shores. I remember well when I was nominated ambassador to Beirut, a muslim acquaintance sought me out to tell me how lucky I was because I would get a chance to meet Sheikh Fadlallah. Truly he was right. If I was sad to hear the news I know other peoples' lives will be truly blighted. The world needs more men like him willing to reach out across faiths, acknowledging the reality of the modern world and daring to confront old constraints. May he rest in peace.

Frances Guy
05 July 2010
1
Read comments | Add comment
Tags: sheikh, shia, clergy, muslim, fadlallah, religion, islam,

The comment is shown on the Bing page but I can't open it to see it (or any others that might remain) in its entirity:
Frances, warmest regards to you. This blog entry about Sheikh Fadlallah is really thoughtful and...<<
Alan G
05 July 2010

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mattpryor

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 12:33

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If I were Israel I would cut off diplomatic ties with the UK.

I'm ashamed.


jose (not verified)

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 22:09

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It seems that her comments were removed from the FCO blog where they appearded. No comment by the FCO on this removal.

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