Today's Observer carries a long article (I presume it is in the magazine section - I will find out when I finally venture out to get a paper) about Malcolm Caldwell, a Marxist academic who was, inter alia, a vocal supporter of Pol Pot's regime.
In December 1978 Caldwell was invited to visit Cambodia by the Khmer regime along with American journalists Elizabeth Becker and Richard Dudman (they were among just seven western visitors to the country during the Khmer Rouge's tyranny). On 22 December Caldwell had a cordial audience with Pol Pot, something that delighted him. In the early hours of the following morning he was murdered, almost certainly on the orders of the man he had met the day before.
Here is an extract from Elizabeth Becker's book When the War was Over. It is her account of what happened on that night.
Anyway the Observer article is interesting. It portrays Caldwell as a charming man (by all accounts he was) but very, very naive. Fair enough but I can think of many other descriptions for him. Sadly only a small handful do not involve expletives!
Last year Democratiya Magazine published an excellent essay on Caldwell (click here to read it, it is well worth it, I assure you). Written by Michael Ezra it is a far more damning critique of the man.
Caldwell represents the sort of person I hate the most in the world, the apologist of evil. While the Left sadly appears replete with such people, the Right is full of the same sort of scumbag too, so it is not the preserve of one part of the political spectrum. Whatever the political stripe people like Caldwell and his successors (George Galloway springs to mind) are not even useful idiots. Lucky for them few ever meet such an ironic death....