When Awful People Die

About the death of Henry Kissinger

Rod T. Faulkner
2 min readDec 1, 2023
Image credit: Dana Ward via Shutterstock.com

I have never subscribed to the adage, “Never speak ill of the dead.”

My visceral response has always been “If they were awful while alive, why not?”

What is it about horrible human beings dying that should obligate people to pay them respect, sympathy, or veneration?

Henry Kissinger has died at the age of 100. He is arguably one of the most reprehensible men of the 20th century.

His foreign policies during his tenure as secretary of state led to the suffering and death of millions of people in Indo-China, South Africa, and South America. He also had a hand in the dissolution of democracies in numerous other countries.

Kissinger avoided scandal and accountability his entire life.

In fact, he became a celebrity in the popular zeitgeist of the United States. I’ll be damn if I “don’t speak ill” of him because he finally croaked after living a long, very comfortable life - something he deprived millions of during his political reign of terror.

If people have lived a life causing suffering, pain, and yes, even death to others, their legacy should not be glossed over or ignored because the Grim Reaper finally paid them a visit.

The erasure of their awfulness helps to revise history, mythologizing them in a shrine of lies that disrespects all those they have harmed, and the devastation left in their wake. It invalidates the suffering of their victims and paves the way for history to continue repeating itself.

So, yes, when awful people die, speak ill of them.

Speak the truth, because death does not confer honor. Only the actions and deeds one does while alive can do that.

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Rod T. Faulkner

Proud Blerd. I write about sci-fi, fantasy, and other areas of interest. Founder of EYE ON SCI-FI Podcast. https://bio.site/eyeonscifi Chocolate lover.