By Nicholas Sauma, Opinion Editor
Margaret Thatcher, former British prime minister, passed on as all people eventually do.
However, unlike most people, her death has been marked by celebrations and ugly rhetoric praising her end. To be honest, I was reminded of the people cheering in the streets when the World Trade Center was struck.
I can understand why people were glad to see her go as PM, but to celebrate a death, coupled with intense demonstrations of irreverence seems wrong. Champagne uncorked in the streets, cakes celebrating her death and crowds singing the Wizard of Oz song, “Ding-dong the witch is dead” are all in bad taste.
I read the comments sections of a few websites, where people asked things like: “Is she being cremated as she knows half of England would like to dance and defecate on her grave?”
I thought most of the controversy stemmed from the state-funded ceremony planned for Thatcher, but I soon found out the hatred came from deeper within. I mean, put yourself in the position of a union laborer who may have lost a job, benefits, and more during her tenure. How would it feel to help pay for her expensive funeral?
However, reasonable people would address those issues as adults, not as baying mobs in the streets. If you didn’t like her legacy, you don’t have to remember her fondly, but there’s a definite violation of decency to address here.
For most religious people, death means a path into a new existence. If that’s the case, then Thatcher will be judged by another power. However, without appeal to religion or spirituality, death is an event that affects more than just one person. There’s also an aspect of redemption. Family and friends of the deceased surely see this same news, and they knew her as an individual, not a policy-maker as the people in the streets did.
Estranged relationships are sometimes “mended” by deaths. There is an acceptance that, whatever may have happened while we were alive, death has resolved by its nature. It’s a completion, an ending, the most certain one we know as humans.
I’m not British, and I wasn’t alive during Thatcher’s tenure, but I have lived long enough already to know that these celebrations of Thatcher’s death are both crude and petty. Far more despised leaders have died who were treated with greater respect than Thatcher is, but comparisons like that don’t even make it better.
Turn on National Geographic and look at the tribes that live far removed from civilization, and you can see that rituals and rites for the dead exist across the globe. To celebrate the death of a man who killed your whole family, one might understand, but an elected official who simply made policies? That’s ludicrous, and I’m embarrassed for all those belittling Thatcher’s death.