Freddy Gray Freddy Gray

As Mosul burned, William Hague discussed rape with a beautiful actress

How will history remember this week? Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, was seized by ISIS, an army of fanatics who like crucifying people, among other activities, and who reportedly have British Muslims among their ranks. This was more evidence that Iraq — far from flowering into a beautiful democracy after the allied invasion of 2003 — has descended into bedlam. Again. Well done us.

And what was the British Foreign Secretary doing as the black flags went up across Mosul? He was in London, at the Excel centre, hosting a three-day conference with Angelina Jolie and a gang of other luvvies about sexual violence. Hague and Jolie agreed that rape must not be used as a ‘weapon of war’ – and vowed to do everything possible to stop sex abuse in conflict.

Down with rape. Not exactly a bold position, is it? You don’t hear many people saying, ‘Do you know, I don’t think rape in war is all bad.’ And I don’t imagine the violators of women in the Lord’s Resistance Army will change their ways because of Angelina Jolie.

Rape is vile, obviously, and rape as a weapon of war worse still. Hague has vowed to give £6 million towards helping survivors of sexual violence and the British government will help Nigeria combat Boko Haram. So phew, it wasn’t all hot air. Nevertheless, the whole Angelina and William sex and violence tour — they have appeared together all over the world, promoting the same message — does look more like an exercise in celebrity self-gratification than anything else; tragedy transmuted into narcissism. There was a hashtag — #timetoact — so that lots of people could raise awareness and feel good about themselves at the same time.

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