Always the best …
The news reports on those who died in Argentina, have centred mainly on three French sports stars. The others who died, are being spoken of only after these three are marvelled at.
This tendency to separate specific victims from other victims is something that annoys me. On the BBC 0ne O’clock news today (Tuesday) , a Frenchman being interviewed made a clear distinction between these three and the ‘normal people’. Ten people died and they are all normal now: in death.
Have you ever noticed that in almost every tragedy, such as this crash, or a school shooting in America, or indeed some other dreadful occurrence where lives have been lost, the media and various leaders or officials, such as, today, the French President, always describe those who have died as being the best.
Everytime something of this nature occurs, you could guarantee the dead will be described as ‘inspirational’ ‘exceptional human beings. They were the ‘finest examples around’ and so on. The picture presented is invariably painted with the finest oils. These dead will have done no wrong, will have led blameless lives, ‘will be sorely missed’ among their colleagues and communities. On and on it goes until, in my opinion, only the gifted and most wonderful people appear to die in tragic circumstances.
The rest of us, who live out our lives away from public achievement, are not really worthy of concern. We who raise children, who care for sick parents or they for us; we who work quietly, who work and study part time in pursuit of a Degree; we, who despite various illnesses, continue to go on daily and do things for family, for neighbour, for strangers, for ourselves; we who have known the harshness of hardship, of loneliness; we who know about the daily battle to breathe, we are seemingly not worthy of such adulation. No, we are ordinary and normal, we are there to praise, but we must understand without argument, that we are never there to be personally recognised.
Personally, this dividing of the dead sickens me. I detest it. Yes, we do have wonderful people around us, yes, we do have people worthy of recognition. However, I believe the greatest form of praise for the dead is to speak kindly of all: not select some at the expense of all. Death is no respector of persons. The rich and the poor, the able and the unable; the gifted and the struggler, they all lie in the same field in boxes. Selectivity is just so wrong. Declaring that these dead are wonderful is fine up to a point, but never forget the quiet people, many of whose lives are marvellous examples too if that was but known …