From The Mail & Guardian, South Africa
By now, everyone knows that Margaret Thatcher died on Monday. It has been headline news everywhere.
The BBC managed a Freudian typo – accidentally, I hope:
Margaret Thatcher dies after a strike.
I wonder if the British reaction has been headline news around the world? I hope not.
In Britain, many mourn; many…rejoice. Champagne was sprayed; happy chants thought up; in Glasgow, people who are too young to remember her time in office threw a street party to celebrate. It was not the only ‘death party’. Signs appeared saying, Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead! Facebookers – people I know – spewed vitriol.
While I don’t deny that her policies caused hurt to many, I have been appalled and saddened at the awfulness of the public reaction in some quarters. The weltschmerz I feel is compounded with shame. Margaret Thatcher wasn’t a mass-murderer, a torturer, a genocidal maniac who kept heads in the refrigerator. She was a strong woman, convinced she was right, and unafraid to act on her beliefs. She was our first and, so far, only, female Prime Minister; for three terms. No small achievement. She was respected and sometimes feared on the world stage.
But all of that happened more than twenty years ago. When she died, she was just a frail old lady.
What is wrong with a country in which people can show such scant respect for the dead? In which it is okay to dance on the grave of a pensioner?
All politics aside, today, I am ashamed to be British.
- Who is Margaret Thatcher? Confusion reigns online (guardian.co.uk)
- Stop Speaking Ill of Margaret Thatcher. (mypresentself.wordpress.com)