Image via WikipediaI genuinely wanted to post about something, anything else, but I can't. The murder of the people in the little flotilla of boats 65km off the coast of Gaza by commandos is burning up Twitter today, with outrage being expressed across the Middle East and further afield. As I write, we know that 16 are dead but that figure will surely change as the picture clears.
The language used in international press reports has been at best questionable, but the biscuit belongs to Associated Press, whose deplorable report on events started with these immortal words: "...more than 10 pro-Palestinian activists have been killed after attacking naval commandos."
AP quickly re-worded the file, but these little tricks of language are part of the war of words that will largely dictate how the world treats this news. The message is now going to be that the soldiers, highly trained and heavily armed, were attacked and responded with minimum force in an intolerable situation made so by the actions of the 'activists'. I do hope that we don't neglect the inconvenient truth that these commandos stormed foreign-flagged boats sailing in international waters and then proceeded to use live ammunition against unarmed people, killing and wounding them.
Irish people still vividly remember Bloody Sunday, when British troops fired into the crowd at a Gaelic Football game in Croke Park, killing fourteen unarmed men. It was not to be the last Bloody Sunday in Irish history: in 1972 another shooting resulted in the deaths of fourteen men. Both events stand as moments of British history that evoke absolutely no pride whatsoever. Quite the opposite, in fact: they are shameful.
I do wonder if the evil of today will still be remembered in 38 or 90 years' time like Bloody Sunday is? I do rather hope so. The danger is, of course, that it will become like Today's Bombing in Iraq or Today's Fatality in Helmand - just Yet Another Act In A Senseless War.