Friday, July 10, 2009

The Forgiven | Eric Blair | 10 July 2009

An article in UK’s The Guardian reveals that the new book Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America by Yale University Press listed author Ernest Hemingway as a potential recruit by the Soviet spy agency, the KGB, in 1941. The article (“Hemingway revealed as failed KGB spy”) also notes that among the revelations that have tarnished the reputation of this great American in recent years was strong evidence Hemingway’s third wife, foreign correspondent Martha Gellhorn, nurtured a virulent hate-on for Arabs, along with a hatred of Germans born of her reporter’s experience as a frontline journalist in World War Two.

She had been among the first reporters on the scene at the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp;

for Gellhorn, Dachau “changed everything.” It is said she became a life-long champion of Israel because of what she witnessed there. in any case, Gellhorn was a frequent visitor to Israel after its founding and had even considered moving to the Jewish state in the 1960s.

A letter she addressed to composer Leonard Bernstein in September 1970 graphically demonstrates how unabashed her loathing of Arabs could be, to whom she applied such adjectives as “loony” and “miserable” and “tedious” and “yowling,” with the suggestion that Arabs are irrational obscurantists (unlike, say, the clear-eyed, clean, and orderly Israelis).

The Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism is named after her.

Would she, I wonder, be so honoured had Gellhorn’s hatred of Germans and Arabs also extended to Israelis and Jews?

No comments: