More on Shah/Graves (from Jim Buck)
Comment on I. Shah/R. Graves post
Jim Buck said,
21.02.10 at 1:26 pm ·
Moore invariably declines invitations to debate, ‘too busy’ he says. However, he does find time to tinker with the article as its inexactitudes are exposed. For instance, he accuses Idries Shah of conflating Mevlevi and Bektashi dervishes—the implication being that the Bektashi do not dance. The Bektashi are in fact reknowned for their Kirklar Semahi:
As for the slanders against Iqbal Ali Shah’s veracity…well, frankly, anyone who takes the British Foreign office as an authoritative source ought, at least read a few John Le Carre books (better still, watch an hour or two of the Iraq war inquiry on BBC 24).
The notion that Idries Shah (as opposed to Omar Ali Shah) damaged Robert Graves reputation is highly questionable. Read a few biographies of Graves; it should then become clear to you that, as far as the English establishment was concerned, Graves was always an outsider. He was “half German, half Irish”– a particularly unfortunate stigmatisation during the second decade of the 20th century. His war memoir ‘Goodbye To All That’ is now regarded as a classic, but was regarded, by many of his comrades-in-arms, as a catalogue of betrayal.
Personally, I admire Grave’s poetry; but he was not in the same league as Sassoon and Owen (both of whom Graves despised for their homosexuality). He might have aspired to be Poet Laureate, but I suspect that he would have been at best a contender. For many years he had made his home in Majorca; and there were persistent rumours that his hospitality to luminaries of the counterculture was a cover for intelligence gathering; whatever the truth of that allegation, he was viewed with suspicion by many on both sides of the UK political divide. Tories saw him as: a bounder; queer, maybe. Reds saw him as an effete, toff. Whatever tiny dip in royalties he may have suffered, as a result of his partnership with Omar Ali Shah, was more than offset by the enormous revival in his fortunes which followed the BBC’s serialisation of ‘I Cladius’. It is for the latter, and also his war poetry, that Graves is now remembered—except of course by hypocrites like Moore, whose crocodile tears, for a damaged reputation, is accompanied by an eagerness to stir the teacup whenever a chance to attack Idries Shah presents itself.