Sunday, April 14, 2013

C'est La Vie

Margaret Thatcher died this week at the age of 87. She was a controversial British leader who pursued her political ambition and held strong convictions about what she had wanted and could achieve for her country. She left behind a legacy called “Thatcherism” and by reason of  her  formidable stand and the policies which were implemented during her reign, her death was mourned by some and feted by others. The baroness would go down in history as an icon. One of her famous quotes  is“ In politics, if you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.”  And during the start of the Falklands War in April 1982, she was quoted as saying, “ Defeat? I do not recognize the meaning of the word.”. The one I love best is “ I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.” The iron lady’s sharp wit and strong determination are qualities that we women can certainly emulate but perhaps not her virility and her coiffure.Like what US President Obama said, “She stands as an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can’t be shattered.”

From the little that I know, the only female British Prime Minister was patriotic and she had the interests of the people at heart. Although I do not know much about politics but I know that when politicians are vying to win at a poll, apart from fulfilling their own ambitions, they must have visions and know what  is  best for the country. Politicians must know if and when they are elected, what  they want to do for the people and the impacts of their rule may change lives and  the order of things for generations to come.

Whenever someone passes on, mortality hits you right in your face whether it is the death of a renowned political figure or a celebrity or someone you know. Every mortal being who has lived till old age will leave behind some kind of legacy even if you are  just an ordinary man on the street. We all know about the mortal sufferings of every human and we know we must face life and brutality of death as it confronts you and makes you ponder. 

In “Everyman”, Philip Roth wrote how the protagonist whispered back to an elderly woman’s husband at the funeral. The short plump elderly woman wept uncontrollably and her husband 'turned unbidden and impatiently asked,You know why she’s carrying on like that?” “ I believe I do,” the protagonist whispered back, meaning by this, It ‘s because it is for her as it’s been for me ever since I was a boy. It ‘s because it is for her as it is for everyone. It’s because life’s most disturbing intensity is death. It’s because death is so unjust. It is because one has tasted life, death does not seem natural. I had thought-secretly I was certain-that life goes on and on.”  But the woman’s husband said flatly, as though having read his mind. “ She’s like that all the time. That has been the story for fifty years,” he added with an unforgiving scowl. “ She’s like that because she isn’t eighteen anymore.”'

Whether you are the dutiful son or daughter, whether you are successful or unsuccessful parent, we all have our fears, regrets, stoicism, panic and loneliness. And yet we want life to be continuing and as Philip Roth wrote “And to have it all all over again."

The former British Prime Minister suffered poor health in the past decade. So as  what Philip Roth wrote in his novel  Everyman” : “Old age isn’t a battle; old age is a massacre.” May  Baroness  Thatcher rest in peace.

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