Friday 16 December 2011

Christopher Hitchens dies after long battle with cancer

Today is a very sad day for all who think that logic and rational thought should govern our lives. Christopher Hitchens perhaps the most outstanding polemicist for many generations died of lung cancer.

I am one of the lucky people who first met him through his toxic and sharp writings on Mother Teresa, Kissinger, and God. I also had the pleasure of meeting him in person. On hearing that I was Greek, he started speaking to me in Greek. I learned afterwards that his first wife was Greek Cypriot. His knowledge of global politics was unsurpassed and his ability to quote facts and stories legendary. As Richards Dawkins said of him "If you are invited into a debate with Hitchens, DECLINE". He recently locked swords with ex-PM Tony Blair. You can watch this debate for free for a limited amount of time (hat tip to Manos Markakis). He was a delight despite his illness.

He will be missed but not forgotten. In the future he will for sure be called as one of the leading lights of the new enlightenment. He did  plant many seeds. It is for us to help them grow.

My friend Leo Kolivakis paid tribute to Hitch

On Mother Teresa: "[Mother Teresa] was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction." 
On Bush: “[George W. Bush] is lucky to be governor of Texas. He is unusually incurious, abnormally unintelligent, amazingly inarticulate, fantastically uncultured, extraordinarily uneducated, and apparently quite proud of all these things.”

Obituary by Vanity Fair
"Farewell, great voice. Great voice of reason, of humanity, of humour. Great voice against cant, against hypocrisy, against obscurantism and pretension, against all tyrants including God. Farewell, great warrior. You were in a foxhole, Hitch, and you did not flinch. Farewell, great example to us all."

Obituary by Telegraph

“[O]wners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realise that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.”