Winston Churchill, the British prime minister during the 1940s and 1950s, was famous for his strong leadership during World War II and for his clever use of words. I wrote about his famous quotes in a previous column. There have been many movies about Churchill. The most recent was the 2017 movie Darkest Hour, which I saw recently. British actor Gary Oldman won this year’s best actor Oscar for his excellent portrayal of Churchill. The movie had many famous quotes by Churchill, including those during his speech in Parliament when he told the people Britain would never negotiate peace terms with Adolf Hitler of Germany.
Churchill was 65 years old, with his political career coming to an end, when King George VI asked him to be prime minister. In the movie, he said to his wife: “When youth departs may wisdom prove enough”. What Churchill meant was that he was no longer young but he hoped he had become wise enough to lead the country. Another quote in Darkest Hour was: “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts”. This means even if you are successful, it is no big deal. Even if you have failed, it does not mean it will cause death (fatal), or that you will fail forever. The only thing that matters is you have the strength and guts to continue even when you succeed or fail.
After his speech in Parliament, Churchill said: “Those who never change their minds never change anything”. This is not an original Churchill quote. It was said by Irish author George Bernard Shaw. It means leaders must learn new things they didn’t know before. Learning new things will help change their minds when necessary. Although I admire Churchill’s clever use of words, I do not admire him as a person. He was a racist who believed the white race was superior. He criticized Gandhi’s fasting to get independence and said if Gandhi died it would be good for the British Empire. He said the white race did nothing wrong in mistreating Native Americans or the original black people in Australia.
當國王喬治六世請邱吉爾做首相時，邱吉爾已經六十五歲，政治生涯本就差不多要告終了。在電影中他跟太太說：「當青春不再，願以智慧來證明。」（“When youth departs may wisdom prove enough”）他的意思是，他已不再年輕，但他希望自己有足夠的智慧去帶領國家。另一句在《黑暗對峙》有引用的話是：「成功非終結，失敗非末日，重要的是有繼續下去的勇氣。」（“Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts”）意思是即使你成功，那也沒甚麼大不了；即使你失敗，也不等於它是致命的（fatal），又或你會永遠都失敗；唯一要緊的是，即使在你成功或失敗時，你還有力量和勇氣繼續下去。
邱吉爾在國會演講後說道：「那些從不改變想法的人，永遠也不能改變任何事。」（“Those who never change their minds never change anything”）這可不是邱吉爾的原話，而是愛爾蘭作家蕭伯納的話。它的意思是，領袖們必須學習他們之前不懂的新事物，學習新事物在必要時有助改變他們的思維。即使我很欣賞邱吉爾機智巧妙的用語，我對他這個人就不敢恭維了。他是個種族主義者，相信白種人比較優越。他批評甘地以絕食爭取獨立，並揚言若甘地死了，對整個大英帝國是一件好事。他說白種人虐待美國原住民或澳洲原住黑人，也不算為錯。
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧