Personal thoughts at some of the reactions to Margaret Thatcher's passing.
|To say the reaction of some people to the death of Britain’s former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has left me stunned is an understatement. Never mind that a family has lost a mother/grandmother/aunt/sister... the blatant celebration of her death by certain people is – to me – shocking. And who is to blame for this lack of consideration and respect? Society or the media?
I appreciate that nobody, especially a politician, can please all of the people all of the time. Undoubtedly some of Mrs Thatcher’s policies and beliefs alienated and angered many people. But I find it hard to believe that some of those people dancing in the streets and swigging champagne really understand the reason for celebration in this manner, because many of them seem to be in their 20s. Someone aged 30 today would have been born in 1983... so would a seven year old have known much about political machinations and intrigue? One news film showed a four year old child singing and celebrating. Does that child still hold Mrs Thatcher responsible for his family’s woes 23 years after her rule ended and despite a switch from the Right to the Left for 13 of those 23 years?
Margaret Thatcher was indeed a divisive character. She was also tough, non-compromising and efficient – to have ruled as Britain’s longest serving PM of the 20th century and as that country’s only female leader she had be strong. I don’t know much about her rule – she was PM when my homeland became Zimbabwe in 1980, and of course she was a major player in the Falklands War. She had very strong views on the European Union, and did not support the establishment of the Euro – in hindsight this opinion appears to be supported by the current status of that currency, never mind several of the EU’s member states.
So although I know about some of Thatcher’s foreign policies I don’t know much about her domestic policies. That still doesn’t mean I don’t understand the celebrations over her death.
Did her governments kill 11 million people? That’s the estimated total of Hitler’s genocide during the Second World War.
Did her governments embezzle billions of dollars from the country’s coffers? Indonesia’s Mohamed Suharto enriched his personal fortune by between 15 to 35 billion dollars during his 32 year reign.
Did her governments export the country’s agricultural and industrial production to pay of the foreign debt? Hungarians suffered starvation and power outage for ten years under Nicolae Ceauşescu’s rule in the 1980s.
Did her governments seize privately owned farms and businesses for themselves and friends and family with NO compensation? Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe recently extended this greed to force all foreign owned companies to hand over 51% ownership to Zimbabweans.
So I’ve said my piece, for what it’s worth. Whether you like or hate Margaret Thatcher there’s really one indisputable fact: she left her mark upon her country and the whole world. She made a difference, and ensured herself a place in history..
Perhaps the media should stop paying so much attention to those crass celebrations of Margaret Thatcher's death and focus on more important issues - the endless slaughter of rhinos and elephants, the worldwide recession and the manipulations of the financial markets spring to mind here. Who knows? It might help make our world a much nicer place.
If my critics saw me walking over the Thames they would say it was because I couldn't swim.
NOTE: this piece appeared in "Blogging Beside A Baobab" .