Thursday, April 14, 2005

Agnes Smedley: Anti-American with a Big Heart

A very interesting, though very strange, article has been posted over at the History News Network on this woman, Agnes Smedley. It's really interesting how the historian that wrote the article, and apparently a book, on this character Smedley really does drill down and identify the facts and truth, yet can't seem to face them. So Agnes Smedley aligned herself with Imperial Germany, the Soviet Union, and Communist China. Not simply aligned I might add, but was an active agent, working covertly to support the international, imperialist aims of these repressive, monstrous regimes. But:

In her finest moments (and even in some of her worst) Agnes Smedley acted from a truly generous heart. Inspired by an abiding love and faith in ordinary people, she resisted with all the force of her being the misery and evil she saw around her and did what she could -- in her own headstrong, often damaging fashion -- to move humanity forward. More than fifty years have passed since Smedley's death. The cold war is over. Maybe we can begin to see her as someone larger than the sum of her actions. In rediscovering Agnes Smedley, perhaps we can find our own roots in our shared humanity.

She actively supported an expansionist imperial power out to take land and people by force and two of the biggest mass murderers in history, Stalin and Mao, yet she "acted from a truly generous heart" and "resisted with all the force of her being the misery and evil she saw around her." Interesting to hear an avowed leftist using the word evil, but not surprising since it's clearly pointed at western, democratic, free market governments. You know, evil. But Mao & Stalin, who actively, intentionally killed, what 150-200 million between them, were part of moving "humanity forward." Color me confused.

1 comment:

Nylarthotep said...

I wonder if it would be fair to measure Smedley with the modern activist/journalist ruler. How much of her books/articles have factual problems? Since history is probably fairly incomplete around her, we probably never know.

She does sound like an interesting person. Not that I think that she had anything worthy to say, but the fact that she was obviously quite adventerous for her time.