Wednesday, November 21, 2007

In Memoriam: Ian Smith, 1919 - 2007

Early this morning, I learned of Ian Smith's death. Soon thereafter, making my usual usual round of internet sites, I encountered a verse tribute to Smith penned (if we may use this word for lines tapped out on a keyboard) by Mencius, of Unqualified Reservations.

I was intrigued by the poem's opening:

The last great Englishman
Is dead, and fuck who disagrees.
He once said to Henry Kissinger,
"Is there no honor in the world
Any more?" This man whose face
Was half shot off in the RAF.
"No," replied good Henry, and
Went on to fuck him.

Reading these lines, I felt the quite infrequent touch of the Muse's hand upon my shoulder, and knew I would have to reply in kind.

My own tribute to Smith may be found in UR's comment section, but I'm never above quoting myself here in a cheap and easy bid to rack up another post. I have several Black Sea topics currently in mind, such as the life and work of Norman Mailer, but I'm not really sure I want to put the time into writing about the life and work of Norman Mailer.

Maybe I'll just go out on the street and head butt a stranger, then chronicle the repercussions - assuming I survive - as a form of "existential experience."

Anyway, in the meantime, my epitaph for Smith:

Ian Smith asked Henry
About the fate of Honour.
Henry smiled discreetly . . .
A sword soon fell upon her.

The White Man's Burden
On that day
Collapsed in bloody farce,
As Ian Smith told Henry
"You kiss my bloody arse."

Click here for an article about how Smith is remembered by those who worked his farm for him. Evidently, he didn't discuss politics with them, which of course is a grievous sin, but he did build for them free schools, and pay their medical bills, so perhaps he wasn't a complete monster.

1 comment:

grumpy said...

Ian Smith, RIP:
Like another almost great Statesman of the same generation, (Enoch Powell) a man of vision who, because he had the courage of his convictions and that extra degree of courage which carries with it an inability to speak untruths just because they are what people want to hear, was condemned by 'popular opinion' as a racist.

Smith, pragmatic and clear-sighted, was unjustly vilified because he refused to allow a British Labour government to sell Rhodesia down the river. Nevertheless, just as he predicted, his once-thriving country was to become yet another African victim of the great, Western, liberalisation/democratisation scam. (Unless, of course, you believe that Mugabe's rule has actually helped in the emancipation of the generality of Zimbabweans).

Would that there was, in office or in waiting, a generation of politicians of any colour or any nation that understood, as Smith and Powell so clearly did, the need for honour and integrity in their personal and public lives.

We shall, as the cliche has it, not see their like again - and the world will be the worse for it.