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Gordon Weiss

Gordon Weiss’s adulation of Chris du Toit is perhaps understandable in a man who strikes me as a Heroic Vitalist, the description used of romantic writers such as Nietschze and Carlyle and Lawrence, who get carried away be energy and verve, but are rather inhibited themselves. Weiss certainly is romantic, to the extent of getting carried away by suicide bombers in a way I find rather sinister. A long description of suicide attacks culminates in the rather wistful claim that ‘Suicidal bravery is poorly understood in today’s advanced economies, couched as they are in prosperity and lulled by economic distraction’, which is a line worthy of Lawrence retreating to a primordial theoretically much purer world.

Weiss’s world view is indicated in the footnote to this panegyric, when he notes that ‘Within living memory, the Second World War provides almost innumerable examples on all sides of suicidal bravery. For example, the two young Czechoslovak soldiers who parachuted into German-occupied Prague in May 1942 o assassinate the Nazi Reinhard Heydrich had been extensively briefed by senior British officers on the insignificant chances that they might survive their mission’.  Weiss’s total incapacity to distinguish between going to almost certain death to attack a particular legitimate target and destroying a great many civilians makes clear the type of warped mentality we are dealing with.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

July 2011
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