Here’s another one of the texts I produced during the online course on Cultural Studies and Modern Languages. This seminar, delivered by the University of Bristol, is currently in its final week.
Question: Having learnt a little about the notorious Peter the Great, now find another divisive leader in history; perhaps someone from your own country or someone you have studied.
Write a brief description of his/her importance and outline the reasons why he/she has sparked so much debate. While researching also consider: When did he/she rule? What were his/her most important actions? Why is the leader lauded by some and condemned by others?
Answer: Although a little less controversial than the ones mentioned by my colleagues, the figure I could think of is Rudy Giuliani.
Grandson of Italian immigrants, he was an example of the American Dream when he became the Mayor of New York in 1994; although it was said that his career had been severely damaged by scandals related to his persona before 9/11, he proved to be an excellent leader in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.
Controversial and divisive as it usually happens with politicians from the US Republican party, he didn’t hide his dislike of Barack Obama.
In the Wikipedia we can read: in February 2015, Giuliani stated “I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America”, and “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country.” In response to criticism of the remarks, Giuliani said, “Some people thought it was racist -I thought that was a joke, since he was brought up by a white mother… This isn’t racism. This is socialism or possibly anti-colonialism.”
Like any leaders, he was loved and hated in equal measure.