29 October 1994
A fond and funny memory of Paul Addison is one which few know about. It came during a Washington symposium on “Churchill as Peacemaker,” later published as an outstanding book. During a break, we walked over to the White House, which Paul wanted to see. We stood at the iron fence, gazing at the seat of power across the lawn.
As we chatted, Paul remarked on how close we were to the building itself. “The security seems pretty light,” he said. “It’s not hard to visualize some stray lunatic standing here and spraying the walls with bullets.”
Marcus Peters (Adé Dee Haastrup) is a neatly dressed West Indian riding the London Underground on 28 May 1940. Whom should he meet but Prime Minister Churchill (Gary Oldman)! The scene (fiction) forms a dramatic moment in Darkest Hour, Joe Wright’s great film on Churchill in 1940.
Churchill, per the movie, has entered the Underground for the second time in his life. (The first was in the 1920s, when he couldn’t find his way out and had to be rescued.) He goes there as the Germans are rolling up Europe.…
“A Century Ago, the Modern Middle East Was Born,” announced The New York Times in December. A colleague asks: “Are you not struck by how difficult (impossible?) it is to encapsulate history in an op-ed? Is that really how and when the modern Middle East was born?”
Good questions. The Times’s idea is that after World War I, avaricious imperialists moved in to enslave Turkey’s former slaves. This familiar theme will dominate through the centenary of the Cairo Conference in March 2021. It’s been around at least since 2001, when Osama bin Laden referred to 9/11 as payback for what he then called “eighty years of injustice.”
Herewith some contrarian, revisionist and politically incorrect thoughts.…