Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of a period of collective thought, a moment to reflect on recent catastrophic events, It’s just that the whole three minutes silence thing is a bit too arbitrary.
For instance, we had a silence after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but not for the earthquake in Iran last year that killed well over ten times as many people. Diana got her silence for a life and death of opulence, while the starving and displaced basically go unnoticed. What makes a tragedy worthy of respect?
The men that volunteered to do the right thing during World War 2 quite rightly get their once yearly moment, but at the same I find it a little odd that we have no official moment to remember the victims of the Holocaust.
Silences aren’t collective enough either. XFM tried the best they could today, but only managed a minute until they couldn’t help but play some more U2.
I walked straight through the mourning crowd in Chelmsford town centre after the death of the queen mother, a bit spiteful perhaps, but I really didn’t like her and I don’t like her family. I wasn’t alone either and felt a bizarre camaraderie amongst my fellow dissenters (the scowl on the Policeman’s face was priceless). Besides, my Grandmas didn’t get a minutes silence for the years they spent sheltering from the luffwaffe under stairs while you know who was tucked up in Windsor castle.
The tabloids lap it up too, the whole respect thing, they think it epitomises their graciousness and decency. This evening’s Evening Standard made special mention of the flag flying at half mast over Buckingham Palace, they even had a quarter page close up picture just in case you either couldn’t believe it or had no idea what that looked like. No doubt tomorrow’s papers will shriek about someone not coming up to scratch.
I think maybe we’re in danger of becoming like the Americans, using other peoples suffering as an excuse for self pity. In short, everyone wants to be a victim.