One Wedding and a Funeral at Sea

It's been quite a few days. Firstly, the world stood still as a couple that hardly anyone knew got married with more pomp, glitz and ceremony than even the likes of Elton John would feel uncomfortable with, whilst their country recoiled from massive spending cuts in education & the arts.  Then the United States announced that long time arch-enemy to the western world, Osama bin Laden (or OBL as Twitter lazily has it), was assassinated under the direction of Barak Obama (BO).  The jubilation that surrounded both was, in my mind (and I am aware I'm in the vast minority here), quite crass.  It perhaps seems odd for me to bring both events under scrutiny in the same article, but really the essence of this is about the world's reaction and not the actual events.

I'm not one to renounce romantic interludes of Willy and Kate (WAK) or defend the actions of a deranged and dangerous terrorist mind such as OBL, but how hypocritical can the western world possibly get?

Perhaps the celebration surrounding the death of OBL was the one that discomforted me most.  Having seen and heard a raft of European and American people deride the burning flags and celebratory Middle Eastern behaviours every time a westerner was killed made me feel I was living in a civilised corner of the world.  I hated that reaction as much as everyone else seemed to. But, as has shown this weekend, we're all the same - just as blood-thirsty & just as vulgar as those we condemned before us. Let's face it - nearly all of those blowing their vuvuzelas now want to see the gory evidence of the death before they can fully accept it and pop their party poppers with pompous pride.

The death of anyone, no matter who they are or how seemingly evil they been, can surely never be something to blast trumpets at or raise party balloons to in a civilised world. Even if the only option is to opt for two bullets in the head in order to make the world "a safer place". There's a way to handle such things when they do (and must) happen. Having a jolly old knees-up is certainly not that way in this century.

The sombre delivery of the news by BO was deliberate as, if he had delivered the news as I'm sure GWB would have done had he had been anything close to an effective president before BO, then it would have been absolutely inappropriate in a "Yippee ki-yay mutha..." kind of way. This is the reaction that I see happening today - millions of GWBs hollering like cowboys that someone's brains had been plastered against a wall (along with the deaths of several others). Just in the same way as they saw & scorned while watching reports from Afghanistan, Iran & Iraq.

It all just makes me feel very uncomfortable and very uneasy about the future and direction of humanity.

More happily, the jubilation that followed the wedding of WAK was something that annoyed me, but only to the level of a few tuts from a miserable old duffer.  I just found it odd that anyone could get so excited about the relationship of a couple they never knew and would never know. I related the two because I spent the entire weekend saying to myself - why the hell is everybody waving flags and cheering about this?

It's probably because it's my birthday today and I feel horribly old and bald and would have liked to have been able to drunkenly embarrass myself at their palace party whilst mocking Willy's male pattern balding - neither of which I was or would be able to do.

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Benedict Francis

Benedict Francis

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