One story that made the news this last week was the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
To be honest, I did not know a lot about her. I was around when she was around and I knew that her nickname was The Iron Lady [although I didn’t once see her perform any Tony Stark worthy stunts or wear cool robotic suits like Robert Downey Junior will don in the upcoming Iron Man movie so not quite sure what all the fuss is about.]
And it is not so much the fact that she died that caught my attention as it was all the stories surrounding the story.
First up was this article and the tragic but almost farcical idea of a group of Thatcher haters buying copies of the song ‘Ding Dong the Witch is Dead’ from The Wizard of Oz movie, so as to get it into the top ten on the local music charts. [It finished in second place but the channel refused to play the full song, instead playing two short excerpts of it with Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, who is overseeing Lady Thatcher’s funeral arrangements, described the campaign to get Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead to the top of the charts as “extremely trivial”.
“I just think that doing it in the wake of an old lady’s death doesn’t reflect terribly well on us,” he told BBC Radio 5 live’s Pienaar’s Politics.
To put it into some context, Margaret Thatcher resigned in 1990. That is more than twenty years ago and you have some people who have held onto that grudge and hatred all this time. Seems unbelievable.
I remember once being the “final call for Brett Anderson” on an international flight after just making it onto the plane to England [feeling very bad for having to walk past all the glaring passengers in first class]. After the plane landed I was one of the last people off the plane and this one lady had waited in first class for me to come through and remembered my name the whole flight so she could fire off a parting “Hope you enjoyed your flight Brett Anderson” or something lame like that. That’s what took up her time for 8 hours or whatever it was, planning her one line speech.
And here we have people waiting that long to celebrate someone’s death but it gets worse because I mean there were people [and a LOT of them from the sounds of things] who were actually planning on celebrating her death. The second article I read had the headline ‘London braces for death party’ where ‘no formal demonstration has been organised for Saturday, but almost 1500 people have pledged on Facebook to attend a “Thatcher’s Dead” party at Trafalgar Square at 6pm.’
That just sounds horrific to me. Can someone tell me what she did that was so bad? This is starting to sound like being on par with Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden death celebrations [which I am not condoning either – I think that any time we engage in the celebration of a death of another human being, there is something intrinsically wrong with that picture. Discuss]
Another article informed me that ‘Thatcher still stirs anger in SA’ as she had been a staunch opponent to the idea of sanctions of South Africa during apartheid. She was a friend to hardline opposition president P.W. Botha, although the article also claimed that ‘in private she pressed him to release Mandela and end apartheid, according to declassified letters.’
The last article, which was perhaps the most helpful and enjoyable of the ones I saw was this one titled ‘For Margaret Thatcher doubt was for wimps, but that’s what makes us human’ with the subscript: I won’t be joining in any gloating over her death, for she was as fallible as the rest of us. A pity she could never see that, though,’ The journalist, Giles Fraser, takes a look at how her faith intercepted her politics and how she held the two together.
And so the end of an era, but she clearly had a strong and lasting effect on a lot of people on both sides of the spectrum. But at the end of the day, she was a person, loved by God. That is a good thing to remember about everyone, especially perhaps those we don’t particularly like or even perhaps actively hate.