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Taking The Myth – 11 June 2016 Edition

This week on Taking The Myth, Stephen Knight and Iram Ramzan discuss the big topic. We talk about: The grandson of Hamas, Christopher Hitchens and ‘death bed conversions, Nicky Campbell, Ramadan, Noel Edmonds’s cancer claims, Prevent, European Commission on” ‘hate speech’, ‘rape jokes’ and the EU Referendum.

Also, Chief Myth-taking Correspondent A Scotsman Abroad contributes to the ASLAN Awards!

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Deathbed Conversion? Christopher Hitchens Died A Blaspheming Atheist

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The great author and polemicist Christopher Hitchens bowed out too soon in 2011 after succumbing to oesophageal cancer. There’s always the temptation to write ‘after losing a long battle with cancer’, but as Hitch himself said:

You’ve heard it all right. People don’t have cancer: they are reported to be battling cancer. No well-wisher omits the combative image: You can beat this. It’s even in obituaries for cancer losers, as if one might reasonably say of someone that they died after a long and brave struggle with mortality. You don’t hear it about long-term sufferers from heart disease or kidney failure’

Hitchens felt it was more accurate to describe the experience as one of being battled by cancer, rather than the other way around:

Allow me to inform you, though, that when you sit in a room with a set of other finalists, and kindly people bring a huge transparent bag of poison and plug it into your arm, and you either read or don’t read a book while the venom sack gradually empties itself into your system, the image of the ardent soldier or revolutionary is the very last one that will occur to you. You feel swamped with passivity and impotence: dissolving in powerlessness like a sugar lump in water’

 

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