The Ghost of Watt Tyler

Watt Tyler was one of the leaders of the 1381 Peasants’ Revolt. He was a slain by the King’s supporters after drinking a jug of beer “in a very rude and disgusting fashion before the King's face.”

Friday, April 08, 2005


Excuse me for being disrespectful but I’m not shedding any tears today. The pope was a reactionary fool. His opposition to the Iraq war in no way excuses his bigotry ( remember some Tories and fascists opposed it for there own reasons). This seems to have been forgotten by some of my comrades. The worst offenders have been the Guardian (although Terry Eagleton had a good comment article) and the Observer - but Alex Callinicos in Socialist Worker could only describe him as contradictory. Look instead at this story by Michela Wrong in the New Statesman:

While Pope John Paul will certainly go down in history as the pontiff who recognised the importance of the Church's third world constituency, his papacy also deserves to be remembered as one that helped keep Africa disease-ridden, famished and disastrously underdeveloped.

And she continues:

When I think of the Vatican's record in Africa, I think of its failure to acknowledge what happened in Rwanda, where priests and nuns not only led the death squads to Tutsi refugees cowering in their churches, but provided the petrol to burn them alive, took part in the shootings and raped survivors. Rwanda was Africa's most devout Catholic nation, and the role the Church played in condoning and fostering the Hutu extremism that climaxed in genocide is as shameful as its collaboration with the Nazis.

Before adding:

Back in the early 1990s there was a moment when, had African leaderships started talking openly about condoms, safe sex and monogamy, they could have weathered the coming Aids storm. Instead - with the exception of Uganda - they opted for silence and denial, not only doing almost nothing to educate the public but actively opposing efforts to prevent HIV infection. In this, they were egged on by the Vatican.