The Corner


Masked and Unmasked

Members of the Zapatista army, including Subcomandante Marcos (center), in the hamlet of Nuevo Juan Diego in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, on August 27, 2005 (Reuters)

“Who was that masked man?” That is a beloved line in American lore, referring to the Lone Ranger. Other good guys have been masked too: Batman, for one. But, in general, beware masking. This is something that Anthony Daniels (a.k.a. Theodore Dalrymple) said to me many years ago. We were talking about it again this very day. Why? Because of those “Antifa” thugs, who attacked the journalist Andy Ngo on the streets of Portland, Ore. Douglas Murray wrote about it below.

The thugs were, among other things, masked.

Incidentally, they claim to be anti-fascists, but they certainly act like fascists — “They have no sense of irony,” says Tony. These guys never change, down the generations, down the centuries. Bully-boys are bully-boys, of whatever hue or stripe. Communists, Brownshirts, and their kin, we will always have with us. Civilization has no choice but to resist them, mightily.

I was talking about masks. The Zapatistas wore them, in Chiapas (the southernmost Mexican state). They may still, for all I know. That’s why Tony and I were discussing masks, those years ago. We were talking about the Zapatistas. He was down there when their guerrilla rebellion started. (He was holed away in San Cristóbal de las Casas, writing a book.)

For a few years, the Zapatistas were chic. Their leader, Subcomandante Marcos — not to be confused with Ferdinand, of the Philippines — was an icon, appearing on T-shirts, à la Che Guevara. Some celebs trooped down to Chiapas, to sit with the subcomandante and his masked charmers: Oliver Stone, for one; Madame Mitterrand, for another.

A fear of masks, or a wariness about them, is prudent. I think of another line from lore: “Show yourselves.”

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