Reading Alexander V. Pantsov ‘s and Steven I. Levine’s biography of Mao, Mao: The Real Story, I have arrived at the Cultural Revolution of 1966-67. I have read other descriptions of this but this time I was struck by how similar the horrific events are to the story in the novel, Lord of the Flies, written some 13 or 14 years earlier.
Millions of young people joined in tormenting and even killing their elders. What a terrible story especially in the historical context of Chinese respect for the elderly. Mao is seventy years old and goading these events with glee (according to this believable description).
I have thought of the parallels between American anti-communism and Mao’s attempt to stamp out his enemies. But American disgrace meted out to those accused is no where near the madness of young people storming classrooms and torturing and killing people for their lack of orthodoxy.
Deng Xiaoping a victim of this purge who later emerged as part of the post Mao leadership has made a famous remark about Mao’s life that he was “70 percent right and 30 percent wrong” According to this 2004 source this remains the current mainstream idea about Mao. I have seen it cited in other places.
It seems a generous assessment at best.
I am feeling much better. Around 4 or 5 PM last night I was feeling pretty chipper. This is the time of day I have been sinking into exhaustion so that was a nice change.
Today I’m planning to get on the treadmill for the first time in over a week if just for a short time after church.