George Galloway on Christopher Hitchens

I wanted to write this merely just to say to Mr Galloway MP, with regards to Christopher Hitchens who died of cancer in December 2011: Shame on you.

The famous debate between Galloway and Hitchens in 2005 surrounding the Iraq war, the former being totally against it and the latter feeling it a justified cause, was notable in the passion both parties held for their view. This certainly did show. The chair, Amy Goodman, was stuck in the middle of a titanic debate which much media have likened to famous boxing brawls of Muhammad Ali.

We profile Writer and journalist Christopher Hitchens for a Manuel Roig-Franzia profile  pegged to the release of his memoir.


One thing I would like to mention with regards to the debate is when Galloway likens Hitchens to ‘a court jester‘, as if that is an insult.

I’d like to include Solomon Volkov’s narration in Testimony, a supposed memoir of Dmitri Shostakovich:

“The yurodivy has the gift to see and hear what others know nothing about. But he tells the world about his insights in an intentionally paradoxical way, in code. He plays the fool, while actually being a persistent exposer of evil and injustice. The yurodivy is an anarchist and individualist, who in his public role breaks the commonly held ‘moral’ laws of behaviour and flouts conventions. But he sets strict limitations, rules and taboos for himself. (Volkov 1987:xxi)”

The figure of the yurodivy is often likened to that of a court jester – one who can poke at social issues directly (even literally in the audience of the ruling autocracy) and not fear repercussions like that of any other subject. Aside having its roots in divine Christian belief, the idea of a yurodivy should come as a compliment to those involved in social commentary and intellectualism, like Hitchens.

But the point of my post is in Galloway’s words immediately after Hitchens death. Writing for Scottish tabloid, the Daily Record, Galloway says that he declined comments for eulogies “on grounds of taste”. I wonder what taste Mr Galloway had in mind when, in the same article, he described Hitchens as a “drink-soaked former Trotskyite popinjay” and “the only-known case of a butterfly changing back into a slug”. Despite the major biological flaw in his statement, confusing slugs for caterpillars, the underlying insult remains just as strong.

I understand that on certain topics Hitchens may have been a great adversary to Galloway – but for a man who wished to ‘show respect’ by declining comment for…oh, 3 or 4 days, he certainly has brought (even more) shame upon himself by writing such comments. Isn’t the ‘respectful’ thing to do, on the passing of an adversary, to admire the qualities which made them such a worthwhile rival?

I agree that George Galloway raised legitimate concerns surrounding the invasion of Iraq back in 2001 which probably should have been addressed more – but his blatant disregard for respect upon a man like Christopher Hitchens is the final straw for me losing all desire to take him seriously (as if the Celebrity Big Brother performance, rape comments, good friendship with Assad and use of the term ‘window licker’ just before the Paralympics to try insult somebody by insinuating they are disabled wasn’t all enough).


4 thoughts on “George Galloway on Christopher Hitchens

  1. Yeah, that’s a solid debate. I hadn’t seen it before, so thanks for posting. Hitchens makes some really good points, especially as it relates to the internationally recognized criterion for a nation losing their sovereignty.


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