June 28, 2005

Goodbye Hola. Melita Norwood, revealed as a spy thanks to archives former KGB officer Vasili Mitrokhin brought with hime when he defected to the west in 1992, has died. Ms. Norwood was never prosecuted and remained proud of her actions.
  • Despite popular belief, being born somewhere doesn't come with written contract stating you believe in the same politics of said locale. There's not even a nonspoken agreement of, nor implied consentment of the same politics. It really shouldn't be that big of suprise (or deal) when a person acts on those politics. A person holds political beliefs BECAUSE they believe that society will benefit them. It might be different if she swore some alligence like we do in the military. But that instance DOES come with a written contract, that has to be honored on both sides. For the majority of 87-year-olds, waking up to find the British press outside their door would have been somewhat intimidating. But she just calmly asked them to wait while she went to get her notes and then spoke to them in her rose garden. That's one cool cat.
  • .."being born somewhere doesn't come with written contract stating you believe in the same politics of said locale." You don't have to believe it, you just have to obey it. Otherwise it's up against the wall, motherfucker.
  • That's even more ridiculous to believe they have a contract to obey.
  • I just want to say that a collegue of mine is (was) Mrs Norwood's biographer and, in a sense, secular confessor. He'll be very much in my thoughts today, as will all those who worked so hard to bring the story of this remarkable person out of the shadows and into history. Alas we will now never know the many secrets she took with her to her grave. Mr K: I can understand, and to a certain extent share, your admiration for a woman who was both an unswerving idealist and skilled secret agent. Don't think, however, that she didn't operate without a habbitual curtain of lies and false allegience. Norwood did, indeed, violate the 'written contracts' to which she was party and betrayed all those with whom she worked. Such is the contradiction of the life of an ideological agent.
  • Where does the line be drawn?... The one that makes for support and love. Stalin might have been a wonder and a hero to this old bird but as the story states, she might have been a few cards short of a full deck. Would you betray your wife? ...your brother? your cousin? your countrywoman? Your neighbor? Are you really so much out of the stream of life in your neighborhood that you wish to destroy? No need to answer. I see from your history of posts just what it is you desire to be.
  • sorry about the referential that might be questionable. I mean to address Chyren and Mr. Knick.
  • she might have been a few cards short of a full deck Norwood was highly intelligent, competent, motivated and idealistic. I think it's wrong to suggest she might have been not all there. What she was good at, apparently, is ignoring inconvenient information but lots of people seem to be good at that (vis half the US population [insert whichever side you oppose here]).
  • "Norwood was highly intelligent, competent, motivated and idealistic." I see none of this from the links in this particular post. What is your source?
  • In addition..those compliments to her state of mind don't address my question. I understand the position of youth that questions all authority and subscribe to the posture in my advanced years even. However, rebellion is not its own rationale, leaving aside Mao's take on change when he was not in power, interestingly enough. My question remains. Who, if anyone, do you have allegiance to? A family? A neighborhood? Nobody?
  • stirfry, you're talking in circles. Her actions were performed because of her alligence to her family and society. Her government was asking her o betray her family, and society. She chose not. I can see by your posts here in this thread that you'd choose to betray your family and society because the government said to, rather than do the right thing.
  • I posted this because figures like Ms Norwood interest me for just the reasons that we're talking about here - I believe in loyalty to ideas and ideals over a tribal belonging to a nation or group. It's hardly a novel concept of course - Jesus was always getting people to leave their families and follow him instead. As a British subject in theory one is supposed to be loyal to a monarch whcih is of course bizarre - I have a lot more time for the kind of US patriotism which asks for loyalty to a constituion that is a set of principles, though of course for many people that can easily descend into 'us or them' or allegiance to symbols instead. Coming from a family with a long background in the British left it's also hard to forgive Ms Norwood her continued loyalty to the Soviet Union. Even those CPGB members who hadn't wised up after Spain were sufficently shaken by Hungary or Czeckoslovakia to see that it certainly wasn't an embodiment of any ideals they may have professed, so that suggests a certain wilful naivety at best.