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The reality behind the myth of Britain's 'Iron Lady'

While the mainstream media in America love to wax poetic about former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the sainted "Iron Lady" of the Cold War, it might be wise to remember the real person behind the carefully polished myth ("Margaret Thatcher made history by standing firm," April 11).

Let's not forget that while she often played up her "blue collar" roots, her sudden rise to fame and fortune was actually bankrolled by her husband Dennis, a millionaire businessman, and that her economic policies resulted in the disappearance of countless small businesses and their replacement by mega-corporations like Walmart.

We should also remember that at the time Mrs. Thatcher, and her American counterpart, Ronald Reagan, were busy smashing trade unions at home, they were heaping praise on the workers in communist Eastern Europe and lauding their unions as instruments for bringing freedom.

One has to wonder why Mrs. Thatcher felt freedom was so important to workers in Poland, but not in Great Britain.

Above all, we should never forget that Mrs. Thatcher was a staunch supporter of apartheid in South Africa who opposed the release of Nelson Mandela from prison and labeled him a "terrorist." She even reversed long-standing British foreign policy by hosting a state visit for white South African President P.W. Botha in 1984.

Although I would at least hope that her position on South Africa was based less on racism than on her willingness to put money above human freedom, either way her actions revealed a lot about her true character.

William Smith, Baltimore

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