Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
I hope you don't mind me sending out this note, perhaps to a field already over saturated. It is not obligatory to read on.
I remember when Reagan died I had a tremendous sense of sadness because it reminded me of many people I met in Nicaragua in the 80s who had been so hurt, or damaged because of injuries to themselves or family or friends caused by the Contra offensive paid for and organised by the States. I remember in particular a father whose son had been kidnapped, and mother whose daughter had been tortured and mutilated. It was strange too to wake up in USA (promoting Angel) and hear of the death of Thatcher. I didn´t feel any elation, need to celebrate or buy champagne, but again that nagging tug in the pit of the stomach I felt when Reagan died. Everywhere, from New York Times to local radio stations, she was treated like some heroine whose primary interest was "freedom and democracy". She and her government backed Reagan to the hilt, despite all the human rights reports and decisions from the International Court of Justice. Systematic abuse of human rights standards were totally ignored by her. She backed the powerful and the violent, without question. I suppose it is inevitable we judge these figures through the prism of our own experiences. We have seen this up and down the country, and in Ireland too. But it does stick in the throat, in the face of such contrary evidence, to have this grand international narrative weaved in front of our eyes; history already in the making. I felt this profound urge to say no, I don't accept this, and I remember. I tried to write about this, but couldn´t For no good reason, the rhythm of the Litanies, prayers, mostly to the Virgin Mary, taught to us at Catholic school and in seminary came to mind and this, in similar tone, (below) appeared.
Watching the funeral today with Danny my five year old son, curious as to what was going on, reminds me once again of the words of Kissinger who said (paraphrasing if I remember correctly) that History was the Memory of States. No, it is not.
Margaret Thatcher, Iron Lady, Rest in Peace.
Margaret Thatcher, Beacon of Democracy, Rest in Peace.
Margaret Thatcher, Freedom Lover, Rest in Peace.
Margaret Thatcher, Stateswoman, Rest in Peace.
Margaret Thatcher, Confronter of Extremists, Rest in Peace.
Margaret Thatcher, Decisive Leader, Rest in Peace.
Margaret Thatcher, Order of the Garter, Rest in Peace.
Margaret Thatcher, Ronnie Reagan, Rest in Peace.
Margaret Thatcher, Ronnie Reagan, General Pinochet, Rest in Peace.
Margaret Thatcher, Ronnie Reagan, General Pinochet, Beacons of Democracy, Freedom Lovers, Confronters of Extremists, Decisive Leaders, Rest in Peace.
Prayer of Saint Francis, R.I.P.
(On occasion of Margaret Thatcher's funeral 17th of April 2013)
Paul Laverty is a human rights activist and a screenwriter.