Teacher's Ramblings

A potpourri of education, politics, family matters, and current events.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Telegraph Pulls Steyn Column

It's on the Bigley beheading and I guess it would be difficult to read, given the coverage in Britain, but his point is well-made. Here's his introduction, on his own site. Go read the column...

Today, for the first time in all my years with the Telegraph Group, I had a column pulled. The editor expressed concerns about certain passages and we were unable to reach agreement, so on this Tuesday something else will be in my space.
I’d written about Kenneth Bigley, seized with two American colleagues but unlike them not beheaded immediately. Instead, sensing that they could exploit potential differences within “the coalition of the willing”, for three weeks the Islamists played a cat-and-mouse game with Mr Bigley’s life, in which Fleet Street, the British public, governments in London and Dublin and Islamic lobby groups in the United Kingdom were far too willing to participate. As I always say, in this war the point is not whether you’re sad about the dead people, but what you’re prepared to do about it. What “Britain” – from Ken Bigley’s brother to the Foreign Secretary – did was make it more likely that other infidels will meet his fate.
I suppose the Telegraph felt the column was a little heartless. Well, this is a war, and misplaced mawkishness will only lead to more deaths. In
The Face Of The Tiger, I wrote as follows about the first anniversary of 9/11, when coverage was threatening to go the way of Princess Di and mounds of teddy bears:
3,000 people died on September 11th, leaving a gaping hole in the lives of their children, parents, siblings and friends. Those of us who don't fall into those categories are not bereaved and, by pretending to be, we diminish the real pain of those who really feel it. That's not to say that, like many, I wasn't struck by this or that name that drifted up out of the great roll-call of the dead. Newsweek's Anna Quindlen "fastened on", as she put it, one family on the flight manifest:
Peter Hanson, MassachusettsSusan Hanson, MassachusettsChristine Hanson, 2, Massachusetts
As Miss Quindlen described them, "the father, the mother, the two-year old girl off on an adventure, sitting safe between them, taking flight." Christine Hanson will never be three, and I feel sad about that. But I did not know her, love her, cherish her; I do not feel her loss, her absence in my life. I have no reason to hold hands in a "healing circle" for her. All I can do for Christine Hanson is insist that the terrorist movement which killed her is hunted down and prevented from targeting any more two-year olds. We honour Christine Hanson's memory by righting the great wrong done to her, not by ersatz grief-mongering.
That’s the way I feel about Kenneth Bigley. Here’s the column the Telegraph declined to publish:

Subscribe with Bloglines