|Dr. Bethune, I presume?|
Not because he was a Communist. Nothing shameful about misplaced idealism. The problem is that we seem to be honouring him _only because_ he was a Communist. Only a slight awareness of the history of China and the Far East demonstrates that there were many great Canadian medical missionaries to the Far East, with accomplishments and innovations rather greater than Bethune's. His career was very brief. Yet none of them are memorialized as Bethune is.
Why? Literally, because of all of them, only Bethune was Communist. The others were all Christian missionaries.
|Bethune in China. He's on the left. But you knew that.|
Bethune has been lionized by the Chinese government for seventy years not because he was a great medical missionary, although he was, but because, for propaganda purposes, they needed someone Communist to hold up against the legions of Western medical missionaries on the "other" side. And Bethune himself surely got the idea from the Christians. his father was a Presbyterian minister.
|The Bethune Memorial Home in Gravenhurst. Oddly reminiscent of Green Gables.|
In the end, it just makes financial sense to make a fuss over Bethune. It's good for tourism from China. We use the same argument, after all, to justify the Queen. But let's not buy the propaganda ourselves. We ought to make clear, in all our internal references, that Bethune was just one of many. He went in the name of Karl Marx; but all the rest went in the name of Jesus Christ.