I noticed in yesterday’s newspaper that China has announced the death at the age of 93, of Zhuo Lin, the widow of Deng Xiaoping who was Mr. Powerful in China from 1977 until sometime shortly before his death in 1997.
She, as is often the case with Chinese politicians, was a lot more invisible than the wily old politician but it is rumoured that she was his right-hand “person” as he pushed his country away from the extremities of the late Mao era into the modern age where China started to become an economic power in the world.
There was that hiccup in Tienanmen Square in 1989 when protesters were bloodily repressed by the military and there were probably other things that he, with his wife’s encouragement, had to order which we would probably rather not have on our consciences. On the whole though, history will probably be kind to him and to her.
She like her husband was one of the young fire bloods who joined Mao’s almost impossible dream in the early days but, like her husband, she was also punished during the Cultural Revolution before those final years of power and rehabilitation.
Thinking of their long political lives, I am in awe of the complexities of anyone who could even dream of trying to run the vast land mass that is China.
I would be hiding in the under-the-stairs cupboard if anyone asked me to rule China so I cannot imagine what it must have been like to have been Mr. and Mrs. Deng as they planned their day round the breakfast table.
I am similarly bemused by the question who would want to be the next President of Afghanistan? Hamid Karzai I suppose, the present incumbent who has been busy doing deals with various unpleasant bloody-handed warlords and legislating so that husbands can retain their oppressive rights over their wives in a country that we all hoped was tottering towards democracy.
Lots of people would like to see Karzai defeated…plenty would like him dead as well I am sure. So I wonder where he gets his enthusiasm from every morning when his alarm goes off and he remembers that he is President of a disaster zone. If I was Hamid Karzai, I would roll over and hide under the duvet.
I wonder too what it must be like to be President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov of the newly “independent” state of Ingushetia. This tiny republic which is stuck painfully on the border between Russian and Georgia, is burying its dead after the latest suicide bomber killed 20 of its citizens in an attempt to create an Islamic caliphate in the Caucasus.
President Yevkurov must have extra difficulties getting up in the morning now that he too has been seriously injured in a recent assassination attempt. He has decided that this latest attack has nothing to do with Arab extremists but that it is all the fault of Britain and America.
Well Mr. Yevkurov, you could have fooled me. I am innocent at least – I would rather stick needles into my eyes than be President of Ingushetia especially as you can only really do what Russian tells you to do.
I am just not cut out for politics I guess.
Just look at another would-be “independent” state – Scotland. Here in this devolved region of Britain, the land of my father (s) , the Scottish National Party are in government and at their first attempt at international diplomacy, they have shown just how powerful little nations are when a big one doesn’t want them to do something.
Poor little Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish Justice Minister. It fell to him to decide what to do about the dying Libyan Lockerbie bomber who may or who may have not been guilty of putting that bomb on the plane killing 270 people.
Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi, the man who has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the atrocity has terminal cancer and has been waiting the results of his appeal against the sentence maintaining his innocence in a case that apppears to have as many holes in it as a piece of Belgian lace.
Kenny MacAskill said that he was minded to release the man on humanitarian grounds but then found out that America just wasn’t going to have it. Far be it for me to guess what has been going on behind closed doors but after a phonecall from the ferocious Hilary Clinton, Kenny seems to have changed his mind.
Who would be a politician? Who needs all that stress and its accompanying humiliations – let alone the death threats? It would be much safer to open a little tea shop somewhere in Gloucestershire.
I suppose someone has to do it though – or do they? Maybe the World would be a safer place without politics or politicians anyway. Anyone for tea? Shall I put the kettle on?