GQ’s decision to present the award of philanthropist of the year to Tony Blair represents an absolute nadir in the vision of the magazine. We can only surmise that the decision to confer the honour was made for reasons of publicity and to court controversy. However, the shock value generated by such a sensationalist decision calls into question the credibility of GQ ‘s philanthropy award. It will surely have implications for the standing of the magazine in the eyes of the British people.
Most people need no reminders that Tony Blair is a vilified figure both nationally and on the world stage. This apparently is not the case for the GQ editorial team. Blair is widely seen as a modern Macbeth, who was ‘stepped in blood so far that should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go oe’r.’ For, through his decisions and actions, he is responsible for the butchery of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women and children. Moreover, the memory of the hundreds of brave British servicemen who were morally betrayed by Blair, and who gave their lives for his lies, deserves better than this.
Blair continues to hide behind faith foundations to mark his ignominy and to cravenly line his pockets. For as long as Blair continues to show no introspection and shame regarding the blood, chaos and barbarism he unleashed upon the Middle East, plaudits such as GQ’s only serve to shore up this discredited and deluded man.
Even a cursory reflection on the derivation of the word Philanthropy exposes the crazy folly of the 2014 award. Coined by the dramatist Aeshcylus some 2500 years ago it the word means to ‘love humanity.’ GQ’s award serves as an insanely Orwellian inversion of the word philanthropy. In Orwell’s dystopia Nineteen Eighty Four love means hate and peace means war. In GQ’s mangling of language philanthropy – to love humanity has come to serve for misanthropy – to hate humanity.
Blair, the arch misanthropist grins as he clutches his trophy, even as the innocent continue to suffer and die because of his deeds.
In warping one of the finest expressions in western thought, GQ has descended to a depth of tawdry shame rarely seen in the annals of British periodicals. The only redress will be an unequivocal apology to the readers of the magazine and to the families of those betrayed by Blair.
On behalf of the board of editors of The London Magazine