Monday, May 27, 2013

Brave Women

The suspect who allegedly hacked a soldier to death on a London street last week, apologised to women who had witnessed the attack and then added " but in our lands our women have to see the same."

That statement struck me as rather ironic. I mean what era is this? Several minutes later I came across an AFP report of a brave women who had actually engaged the man who was holding a bloody meat cleaver in his hand. 

Naturally this made his earlier statement appear even more ironic. Of all the people at the scene, it was Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, a former scout leader who stepped forward without fear of injury to herself. She has children, all the more reason to stay safe. But she stepped forward selflessly. 

Today I came across this article that echoes my thoughts perfectly

The Independent

The bravery of women shames men

by Janet Street-Porter

This has been a week when a few brave women stood up and the rest of us watched in awe. The horrific events in Woolwich filled me with revulsion, then a concern that images of men with blood over their hands would be seen by impressionable young men. If I had nightmares, what about them? Will they have seen the saturation coverage of the killing in all media, watched it trending on Twitter and want to ape that instant notoriety? I hope not, but the one image that gives me hope is of three ordinary women, confronting the alleged perpetrators while others walked by or stood transfixed, recording on their phones, tweeting banal messages.

Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, the former scout leader, engaged a man holding a meat cleaver in conversation until the police arrived. Fifty people watched her, and she had to push one who was filming away because he was too close and might disconcert the alleged attackers. "It made me sad, they were thinking of themselves, not about this poor guy [the victim]." When one of the alleged killers said, "I will shoot the police when they come," she said: "That's not going to happen. I am here and I am going to listen to you." Two other women stood by the body of the dead soldier, covering it, offering prayers.

These selfless women are everything Tony Blair and David Cameron are not. We are in this mess because politicians talked of a "war on terror". Like the "war" on drugs, we will never win because it is being waged on the internet 24/7. Lone men and women sit in their bedrooms communicating with people spewing hatred on the other side of the world.

Politicians don't do what Ingrid did; they rarely listen. When more than a million voters said they didn't want us to go to war in Iraq, Blair refused to listen. Now we're stuck in Afghanistan but that war is being played out on an ordinary high street back here. The events of last week show us why more women are desperately needed in politics. Maggie Thatcher aside, most of us believe in conciliation, not confrontation, in conversation, not rhetoric and grandiose declarations of intent.

No comments: