Can we (or should we) ever be glad about death?

I was listening to the BBC Radio 2 today and the politics show started at noon. Jeremy Vine was talking to a man who was selling party packs to celebrate the death of Margaret Thatcher. Now I do not condone or condemn anything that Margaret Thatcher did as Prime Minister – I don’t think I have a right to an opinion because I don’t know enough about the policies and their results that were passed under her government. It is a common human flaw to judge without knowing the full story or all the facts.

However, listening to this guest made my blood boil. Not because he is a socialist, not because he disagreed with much of Margaret Thatcher’s policies, but simply because of the complete lack of humanity with which he spoke. He was talking as though he couldn’t wait for Mrs. Thatcher to kick the bucket so he could have a good party. I find it completely wrong how someone can ‘hope’ for the death of someone, who had never done anything remarkably atrocious. She didn’t kill anyone after all.

You can listen to the interview here.

Can we ever be glad of somebody’s death? Michael and I had a conversation about this before I started writing this post and he came up with some good points (as did I, I may add!).
Take for example, the death of Osama Bin Laden. When I heard that he had been killed by American/Pakistani troops, I don’t think I was ‘happy’. I think I felt an overwhelming sense of relief – relief that nobody else would suffer or die at his command. But I wouldn’t have described my feelings as ‘happy’.

But then Michael gave a completely different example. He told me to try and imagine myself as a persecuted Jew whose entire family had been killed at Hitler’s command. How would I have felt, knowing that he had committed suicide and was no more? Again, I answered ‘relieved’, but Michael pointed out that there are at least two types of happiness – joy and contentment. So, would I have felt contented that Hitler was dead? I think the answer would probably have been yes. Contented that he couldn’t hurt me any more than he already had done? Contented that nothing like this could happen again? Contented that he couldn’t do the same to another family?

But going back to the point of Margaret Thatcher, I think these ‘party-packs’ are truly awful. At the end of the day, she did as she thought was best, regardless of whether or not you believed her actions to be right. Hoping for and celebrating the death of someone, who wasn’t a tyrant and who didn’t cause death, is something I find particularly distasteful. After all, Mrs. Thatcher is still a mother, a grandmother, a friend and she was a wife too. She is a human being and in her old age, should be respected. Perhaps that is me being old-fashioned?

Sorry for the ‘heavy’ post.
What are your thoughts? I’d be interested to hear them.

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2 responses to “Can we (or should we) ever be glad about death?

  1. I totally agree with you. No matter who anyone is, we should never be ‘happy’ that they have died. When someone wrongs you, you may wish they would die, but this is a very empty resolution because it never changes what they did.

    The flip side of the coin is (using the Hitler example) some people are very angry when someone dies because it doesn’t give the opportunity for natural or court justice. It’s almost like their death has ripped you off from seeing them face and pay for their horrendous acts.

    I kind of like Maggie Thatcher. I think the man selling the party packs for her death really needs to move into the 21st century and get a life 😀

    • I hadn’t thought of that flip side Dianne. I imagine that those feelings are really difficult to deal with.
      I kind of like Maggie Thatcher too. I think she accomplished a lot during her time in office and I’m quite interested in finding out the ins and outs of her policies so I can form an opinion of my own. She certainly overcame a lot of criticism as the first female prime minister!

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