Following CNN’s sacking of Octavia Nasr for expressing admiration for the Lebanese Grand Ayatollah Fadlallah, who passed away recently, it has emerged that an even more gushing eulogy was made by Frances Guy, the British Ambassador to Lebanon, who described the Ayatollah as a “decent man”, who rated among the people she admired most.
In her official blog on the UK Embassy’s website, following the Ayatollah’s death, Guy said she was sad at his passing and wrote:
The world needs more men like him willing to reach out across faiths, acknowledging the reality of the modern world and daring to confront old constraints.
She continued that:
When you visited him you could be sure of a real debate, a respectful argument and you knew you would leave his presence feeling a better person.
For those that need refreshing, the Ayatollah was instrumental in creating the terrorist group Hizbullah and was considered its spiritual leader. He was a renowned Holocaust denier, supported suicide attacks against Israel and was the mastermind of the 1983 Beirut bombing which killed almost 250 U.S. servicemen.
CNN ought to be acknowledged for swiftly, and rightly, sacking Nasr, whose credibility it said had been compromised. The British Foreign Ministry however, has not been as willing to censure Guy, who simply just had her blog taken down and said that the comments reflected Ms. Guy’s personal opinion, not official UK policy. The Ambassador, however, an experienced diplomat and official representative of the United Kingdom, ought to have known better and the Foreign Ministry ought to have recalled her to London and dismissed her from her post immediately.
One would have to wonder whether Ambassador Guy would have been equally willing to praise and eulogize the Ayatollah as a ‘decent man’ were it British citizens who were the subject of Hizbullah’s terrorist attacks?
(Although Ambassador Guy’s blog has been removed by the Foreign Ministry, a copy of her original blog can be found here.)