Letter: Pax Romana?
Saturday 12 June 1999
It is helpful, when surveying the examples she gives of clergy supporting the state in wars deemed "just", to remember that medieval Christian ethics required anyone who shed blood, even in the course of a holy war, to do penance for the sin committed. The objective evil of taking life had to be atoned for, even if the circumstances mitigated the penance.
At no time did the medieval Christian church ever suppose that the end could fully justify the means.
Dr MONICA SANDOR
Department of History, Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Sir: I must challenge some of the conclusions drawn by John Campbell in his review of Richard Shannon's Gladstone: Heroic Minister, 1865-98 ("The Grand Old Man of politics", 11 June).
To regard Blair and Clinton as heirs of the "moral imperialism of Gladstone" in their war over Kosovo and thereby identify them with "the spirit which animated all those idealistic Labour anti-colonialists such as Fenner Brockway and flourished most purely in CND's naive faith that the world was just waiting for a moral lead from Britain", which he derives from Gladstone, is to fly in the face of the facts.
To imply that those who opposed the war are the heirs of Disraeli - who supported the Ottoman Empire, played a leading role at the Berlin Congress of 1878 and acquired the British interest in the Suez Canal - is to turn history on its head even after conceding that Gladstone would never have resorted to a bombing campaign.
Liberation, formerly the Movement for Colonial Freedom, of which Fenner Brockway was President, along with CND and other heirs of anti-colonialism, while utterly condemning all ethnic cleansing, have been totally opposed to the Nato bombing campaign.
Let us not be completely cynical in our use of history to justify present policies.
STAN NEWENS MEP
(Lab, London Central)
musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery claims: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 2 Salisbury ranked seventh-best city in the world to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015
- 3 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 4 Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 5 Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Disney announces new female-led film Moana
Eight seconds of white noise is top of the Canadian iTunes chart because people love Taylor Swift that much
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt is intriguing as unsympathetic war hero
American Horror Story season 4, Fox - TV review: Sensitive, silly and sensational
Is Poppy Pym the new Harry Potter? Children's bookseller wins Independent's new author search
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms