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Harry Leslie Smith is the WWII Veteran Destroying Trump Trolls on Twitter

By Petr Knava | Social Media | July 31, 2018 |

By Petr Knava | Social Media | July 31, 2018 |


Throughout the years I have heard and seen many different versions of that famous quote about memory and the tragic repetition of the past, but the one that they all spin off from is Spanish born philosopher’s George Santayana’s original formulation: ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’

Harry Leslie Smith is a man who remembers a lot.

Born into poverty in the North of England in 1923, prior to the creation of the National Health Service, he was forced to watch his older sister die of tuberculosis—a treatable but then unaffordably so condition. While still a teenager he would see Europe be drenched in blood and turned to rubble as the Nazis sought to murder their way to dominance. Confronted with the most horriying reality imaginable, Harry would enlist in the Royal Air Force in an effort to help fight the rising tide of murderous Fascism. He had not yet even turned 20. After the war was finally won he would live in Hamburg as a member of an occupying force. There, as the dust settled on the war-ravaged continent, he met the woman that would become his wife, Friede. After a little while the couple would move back to England and then eventually Canada, where they would have three sons together. After Friede’s death in 1999, Harry would turn to writing and campaigning. To date he has written five books and numerous columns for various newspapers, as well as becoming a campaigner for the rights of refugees, and a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn’s goal to return the Labour Party to the form that Harry himself recognises as the political movement that had given birth to the National Health Service back in 1948, when the working class and solidarity amongst peoples in a Britain still climbing out from the shadow of war helped build a more just and fair society.

Like I say, Harry remembers a lot.

Harry has learned a lot too. In his tireless campaigning, in his recent years he has turned to Twitter to spread the message, and he has come to wield the social media site like a weapon forged of wisdom, humanity, and wit. His Twitter feed is a wonderful place. Because that other old saying, about an old dog learning new tricks? Harry doesn’t have time for that nonsense. He moves ahead with the time, deftly and intelligently.

Another thing that Harry has no time for is that other staple of the modern age. The troll. The trolls come for Harry on Twitter like they do for many. But Harry Leslie Smith, 95-year old World War 2 veteran, bats them away like the buzzing gnats of irrelevence they are.

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Petr is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.