I think it was in Holidays In Hell where P.J. O’Rourke described Bianca Jagger in Nicaragua, looking forlorn after the Communists lost the election there in the mid-80’s. P.J. memorably described Bianca as inhabiting the “lonely Hell of the formerly cute.”
And that was twenty years ago. Bianca now occupies the lowest rung on the ladder of has-been celebrity: “human rights activist.” Today she was in Berlin to participate in a panel discussion titled: “Human Rights–A Victim in the War on Terror?” under the auspices of the German Aspen institute. I have a feeling that Ms. Jagger took the affirmative side. Note the official-looking sheaf of papers that she carried into the conference:
My interest piqued, I looked up the Aspen Institute’s site to learn more about the Berlin event. The topics discussed include:
Has the War on Terror led to a denial of basic civil rights, for example, at Guantanamo Bay? How can a fair balance be achieved between the desire for more security and the protection of human rights? Is the West turning a blind eye on Chechnya and human rights in China and Libya all, in the name of combatting terrorism?
Apparently the Aspen folks haven’t been following the endorsements by recently-freed Guantanamo detainees who praise the food and the English lessons there. As for China and Libya, if anyone can explain how we are to blame for the human rights abuses there, and what on God’s green earth they have to do with the war on terror, please drop us a line.
I spent the day in Manhattan, so my thoughts naturally turned to the human rights of New Yorkers who go to work in local skyscrapers and wouldn’t, normally, have to worry about aircraft flying through their windows. No mention of those rights in the Aspen program; no mention, either, of the human rights of Pentagon employees, airline passengers, Spanish subway riders, workers at African embassies, or Israeli bus-riders.
Somehow I feel sure that Ms. Jagger is really concerned about those things, and she’ll get to them as soon as all of the world’s more pressing civil rights issues have been addressed.