Letter: Whose heroes?

Click to follow
The Independent Online
I wonder whether the apparent difference of view between Brian Walden and Boyd Tonkin ("Mandela fits the job description for a hero in the modern world", 6 February) would be lessened if each society were allowed to pick its own heroes. Gamel Nasser, not Anwar Sadat, might be the Arab choice; Kwame Nkrumah might be the African choice; Marcus Garvey, and not W E B Dubois might be the Afro-American choice in the pre-war period, while Malcolm X might give Martin Luther King a close shave.

When Western analysts pick non-Western heroes, they go for conciliatory figures, while Western heroes come from the warrior and confrontational class like Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher. If non-Western analysts were to pick Western heroes, such figures as Jimmy Carter, Olof Palme and John F Kennedy might figure prominently. History is still dependent on the subjective view of the historian.

Professor A BOLAJI AKINYEMI

Cambridge

Comments