Fidel Castro lays into Ahmadinejad – the political balance begins to be restored

The world has turned upside down, at least that was what we thought. Tony Blair and George Bush were liberal heroes in the Middle East while the left back home were doing their best to excuse Islamic fanaticism as a response to imperialism.

More sense was being spoken by Sarkozy on the economy than many of our left-leaning economist MPs, and while US politicians were all bending over backwards to seem the most comfortable with a mosque within three minutes walking from the site of 9/11, while reminding us of the peaceful message of Ramadan, radicals such as Hugo Chavez and that Scottish hottie George Galloway were cuddling up to an Iranian president so seemingly nonchalant that a woman in his country could be stoned to death for a crime, proof of which would not fool a duck on acid, one wondered whether the world would soon just burn up and implode.

But, behold, some sense has been restored. Think what you will of Castro, I remember in my own days of ardent support, all I had in my intellectual toolbox to return the question of human rights was something along the lines of: well it’s better than the record of Saudi Arabia, and imperialist countries trade with them, don’t they!

A fair point, even to this day, but only serves to criticise the west’s stupidity for trading with Wahhabi catastrophists, does not in any way, shape or form exonerate Cuba’s own dissenter prison population.

In fact, Castro has recently come out against Ahmadinejad calling him an anti-Semite for “denying the holocaust” while urging “Tehran to acknowledge the “unique” history of antisemitism and understand why Israelis feared for their existence”.

Some have rightly commented that this could put Hugo Chavez – who will soon meet Venezuelan Jews to prove once and for all that he is not an anti-Semite – in a peculiar situation with the Iranian premier. Might put Galloway in the doghouse too, as in 2006 he published the Fidel Castro handbook while calling him the “the living person he most admires“.

While this isn’t gamechanging stuff, it certainly does restore faith that international leftism does not imply a catch-all attachment to the underdog – which in recent times has meant all manner of disparate politicians and politics uniting under the flimsy banner of anti-Americanism.

Such a union was destined to fail, and this is preferable too, for we can’t have good progressives mixing with election-fiddling theocrats with a bent for killing innocent women – that just wouldn’t do.

Nothing has changed my feelings towards Castro, but I’m glad he has done this, because many socialists look up to him – Chavez and Galloway noted – and this might provide a necessary blow to the head for those whose oiled-gloves are trying to juggle egalitarian principles with Islamist horse feathers.

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