Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Zugzwang
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    07 Nov '18 19:44
    I have no attachment to Petain, yet, as a historian, I wonder about
    what's fair in assessing a person's entire varied life.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/07/nazi-collaborator-phillipe-petain-world-war-stirs-anger

    "Macron's plan to pay tribute to Nazi collaborator Pétain stirs anger.
    Marshal Pétain was a first world war hero, but later disgraced as head of Vichy France."

    Should more Americans remember that Benedict Arnold fought heroically
    for American independence before he returned to being loyal to the British?
    Some American historians believe that he has been judged too harshly in the USA.

    Eisaku Satō, a Japanese Prime Minister, was (credibly) accused by his
    wife of domestic violence. He was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Arthur Koestler was a notable writer. After his death, some women
    (credibly) accused him of rape, and it's now widely accepted that he
    was a serial rapist who was powerful enough to induce or intimidate
    people who knew of his offenses to stay silent.

    Should the existence of the bad wipe out the existence of the good elsewhere in a life?
  2. Behind the scenes
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    07 Nov '18 20:291 edit
    @duchess64 said
    I have no attachment to Petain, yet, as a historian, I wonder about
    what's fair in assessing a person's entire varied life.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/07/nazi-collaborator-phillipe-petain-world-war-stirs-anger

    "Macron's plan to pay tribute to Nazi collaborator Pétain stirs anger.
    Marshal Pétain was a first world war hero, but later disgraced as head ...[text shortened]... y silent.

    Should the existence of the bad wipe out the existence of the good elsewhere in a life?
    Should more Americans remember that Benedict Arnold fought heroically
    for American independence before he returned to being loyal to the British?
    Some American historians believe that he has been judged too harshly in the USA.

    Should the existence of the bad wipe out the existence of the good elsewhere in a life?



    That depends on the good and bad acts of the individual. Each case is different. I don't think one can make a blanket statement that will accurately judge or describe all of them.
  3. Standard memberHandyAndy
    Non sum qualis eram
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    07 Nov '18 21:14
    @duchess64 said
    Should the existence of the bad wipe out the existence of the good elsewhere in a life?
    Does it have to be an either/or situation? Is it acceptable to say that a person was
    heroic at one point in life, then a seriously flawed human being during a later period?

    Do we need to idealize? Are there people who are 100% good or 100% bad?
  4. Joined
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    07 Nov '18 21:45
    @duchess64 said
    I have no attachment to Petain, yet, as a historian, I wonder about
    what's fair in assessing a person's entire varied life.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/07/nazi-collaborator-phillipe-petain-world-war-stirs-anger

    "Macron's plan to pay tribute to Nazi collaborator Pétain stirs anger.
    Marshal Pétain was a first world war hero, but later disgraced as head ...[text shortened]... y silent.

    Should the existence of the bad wipe out the existence of the good elsewhere in a life?
    Another good question should be, why would people care what Macron says?

    As for historians, you seem to think highly of the Grand Mufti Amin for collaborating with the Nazis as well.

    Shrug, the world is insane.
  5. Standard membervivify
    rain
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    07 Nov '18 21:59
    I think the same for people like Bill Cosby. Should he be remembered as a beloved and legendary comedian, responsible for one of the greatest sitcoms of all time (which single-handedly turned NBC into a powerhouse network), was one the first shows to portray blacks as upstanding well-educated, successful people, promoted black colleges and was responsible for getting hundreds of blacks higher education, used his celebrity to promote liberal causes who always sought to encouraged blacks to hold themselves to higher standards than the stereotypes of the media......

    or do I remember him as an unrepentant serial rapist?

    Repentance. I think that's the key factor. People who committed evil acts and turned over a new leaf seem more respected than those who did a lot of good but never paid for or acknowledged their wrongs. Ex-KKK members who renounce their old ways are more respected than Paul Deen, whose racist past was discovered and got her ousted from her TV shows.

    Had Paula Deen come forward on her own about her racism, admitted wrongdoing, and sincerely dedicated herself to righting her wrongs before being caught and did so out of sincerity without any threat of being ousted...I think she would be just fine.

    Obviously, more serious crimes like betraying your country or serial rape are not so easily forgiven, if at all. But some kind of repentance and paid debt to society can at least somewhat salvage (in the eyes of history) the the good these people did with their lives.
  6. Zugzwang
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    07 Nov '18 22:38
    @handyandy said
    Does it have to be an either/or situation? Is it acceptable to say that a person was
    heroic at one point in life, then a seriously flawed human being during a later period?

    Do we need to idealize? Are there people who are 100% good or 100% bad?
    Pétain’s life was "successively banal, then glorious, then deplorable, but never mediocre."
    --Charles de Gaulle

    Petain's dying wish was to be buried among the soldiers whom he had led at the Battle of Verdun.
    It was denied upon the grounds that he was unworthy of such an honour.
    It remains a controversial issue in France.
  7. Zugzwang
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    07 Nov '18 22:531 edit
    After the Battle of Saipan, a few Japanese soldiers and civilians (not committing suicide)
    refused to surrender to the Americans. They waged an intermittent partisan war
    while struggling to avoid detection and destruction by the much more powerful Americans.

    One of these soldiers was a former member of the Yakuza, a professional killer in civilian life.
    The other Japanese distrusted or feared him. He made it known that he did not
    necessarily respect officers and would obey only their orders that suited him.
    Having vowed to kill at least 100 American soldiers before he died, he fought a personal war.
    An expert at killing, he could often go out alone, ambush a few American soldiers,
    kill them, and take their weapons (which he distributed to his few loyal followers).

    The Americans mounted a massive search-and-destroy operation to track down and
    wipe out all Japanese resistance. The Americans were coming very close to where
    almost all the Japanese soldiers and civilians were hiding--they expected to die soon.
    The former Yakuza member was based elsewhere. Earlier, he had said that he did
    not care much about what happened to the other Japanese. The desperate Japanese
    civilians were praying for a miracle to save them from being discovered by the Americans.

    Then it happened. They heard the distinctive sound of a Japanese machine gun
    (the former Yakuza member's favorite weapon) firing and firing. Evidently, he was
    firing it as a diversion, successfully drawing perhaps thousands of American soldiers
    toward his concealed location. As an experienced soldier, he would have known that
    what he did was practically suicidal. Another Japanese soldier, who had long loathed
    him, said that he no longer cared about the former Yakuza's murderous past.
    His selfless act of bravery had redeemed him. If the former Yakuza were to survive,
    then he would be welcomed and embraced by the Japanese who had shunned him.
    But he did not survive. The other Japanese like to believe that he fought to the end,
    taking many Americans with him to death.

    So perhaps even a hardened professional killer can care enough about other people,
    even those who looked down on him, to sacrifice his own life in order to save theirs.
  8. Zugzwang
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    07 Nov '18 23:03
    @vivify said
    I think the same for people like Bill Cosby. Should he be remembered as a beloved and legendary comedian, responsible for one of the greatest sitcoms of all time (which single-handedly turned NBC into a powerhouse network), was one the first shows to portray blacks as upstanding well-educated, successful people, promoted black colleges and was responsible for getting hundreds ...[text shortened]... n at least somewhat salvage (in the eyes of history) the the good these people did with their lives.
    Benedict Arnold would say that he did not 'betray his country' (the USA had yet to
    win its independence) but simply returned to his first loyalty to the British crown.

    The Americans decided that the leg that he had lost while fighting for them should
    be buried with full military honors.

    Alcibiades became famous (or infamous) for frequently changing sides, serving
    the Athenians, Spartans, and Persians (among others).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcibiades
  9. Standard membershavixmir
    Guppy poo
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    08 Nov '18 06:53
    I think it’s part of how large the flaw is.
    Did Petain collaborate with the Germans, because he felt it the best way to protect his own powerbase and civilians?
    Or did he actively help with deportations?
    It’s a difference.

    Take Churchill, as an example: lots of people think he’s a national treasure and the saviour of freedom.
    Lots of other people hope he rots in his grave.

    Ultimately, it comes down to respecting other people’s opinions and allowing them room to be different than yourself.
  10. Standard membersh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
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    08 Nov '18 18:503 edits
    @shavixmir said
    I think it’s part of how large the flaw is.
    Did Petain collaborate with the Germans, because he felt it the best way to protect his own powerbase and civilians?
    Or did he actively help with deportations?
    It’s a difference.

    Take Churchill, as an example: lots of people think he’s a national treasure and the saviour of freedom.
    Lots of other people hope he rots in his ...[text shortened]... mes down to respecting other people’s opinions and allowing them room to be different than yourself.
    Petain was complicit in Vichy's anti-Jewish laws and under his watch, tens of thousands of Jews were sent to Drancy, from where they were eventually sent to Auschwitz. True, most Jewish French citizens in Vichy were not rounded up until after Germany occupied Vichy in November of 1942, but that was not because of Petain's protection but because the Germans didn't insist on it.

    Though not as blameworthy as the top level German Nazis, Petain was absolutely collaborationist in the Holocaust and is at least as much to blame as low level Nazis who followed orders rather than gave them.

    I'd consider any move to honor him incredibly offensive, regardless of his WWI service.
  11. Joined
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    08 Nov '18 19:20
    What about socialist French president François Mitterrand? He only worked with the Vichy regime for a few years...
  12. Joined
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    08 Nov '18 20:323 edits
    @shavixmir said
    I think it’s part of how large the flaw is.
    Did Petain collaborate with the Germans, because he felt it the best way to protect his own powerbase and civilians?
    Or did he actively help with deportations?
    It’s a difference.

    Take Churchill, as an example: lots of people think he’s a national treasure and the saviour of freedom.
    Lots of other people hope he rots in his ...[text shortened]... mes down to respecting other people’s opinions and allowing them room to be different than yourself.
    Take Churchill, as an example: lots of people think he’s a national treasure and the saviour of freedom.
    Lots of other people hope he rots in his grave.


    He was a flawed individual, like most people in history (especially when judging out of historical context). However, without him, the fight against fascism might have failed and the consequences of that are too ghastly to discuss... His leadership shone through at a crucial time. His passionate speeches mobilized the people. British attitudes in 1940 quickly turned from defeatism to defiance. He'll probably be regarded as a hero in Britain for a long time.
  13. Zugzwang
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    12 Nov '18 19:06
    Aung San Suu Kyi has won a Nobel Peace Prize.
    Some people have called for it to be taken away (for which no procedure or precedent exists)
    on account of her insufficient criticism of Myanmar's persecution of the Rohingya.
  14. Zugzwang
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    23 Nov '18 20:014 edits
    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/nov/23/chile-neruda-airport-rename-outrage-admitted-rape-memoirs

    "Poet, hero, rapist – outrage over Chilean plan to rename airport after Neruda
    Human rights activists argue that the honour is inappropriate for a
    man who described raping a maid in his memoir"

    "The current controversy springs from a page in Neruda’s memoir,
    in which he describes raping a maid in Ceylon, where he occupied
    a diplomatic post in 1929.

    After the woman ignored his advances, Neruda says he took
    “a strong grip on her wrist” and led her to his bedroom.
    “The encounter was like that of a man and a statue. She kept her
    eyes wide open all the while, completely unresponsive,” he
    recalled. “She was right to despise me.”

    " it is time to stop idolizing Neruda and talk about the fact that he
    was abusive,” said Vergara Sánchez. “Just because he is a famous
    artist does not exempt him from being a rapist.”"

    If Pablo Neruda had raped an upper-class white woman in Chile,
    then more Chileans probably would have criticized him sooner.
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