Living in Dubai where politics is either irrelevant (it’s not your country to comment on after all) or distant (absence might make you miss the seasons but you don’t miss yapping politicians. At. All) it’s easy to lose touch. Thank goodness for the internet versions of the Guardian and the BBC: it gives me the chance to get pissed off with British and world politics via the WWW.
Two things this week: the Oscar Pistorius trial – according to the BBC and most everywhere else he’s on trial for the murder of his girlfriend e.g.. from the Beeb “Mr Pistorius denies intentionally shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year, saying he mistook her for an intruder.” So to be clear, if he didn’t mean to shoot his girlfriend dead, it’s somehow ok that he did mean to shoot an intruder dead even if that intruder was maybe unarmed, young and just looking for a few dollars in a very rich mans house? He had more guns than was legal, ammunition designed to chop people into mincemeat and he has a record of shooting guns for fun, but the main thing here is whether he meant to kill his girlfriend or not. Otherwise he’s nominally innocent. To my mind anyone who picks up a gun and shoots without warning and without knowing there was a threat to him or Reeva is guilty of manslaughter. Knowing as he did the likely consequences of using that gun and those bullets on a human – well that makes him guilty of murder. Using reasonable force to defend yourself from violence? I don’t think so. This was cold-blooded killing of a person.
And what sort of person wakes in the middle of the night and assumes that sounds from an en-suite bathroom are those of an intruder with murderous intent that demands lethal force? I’d assume that it’s my husband taking a pee, and I’m pretty sure that’s the common sense reaction. Wouldn’t you at least put your hand on your partners side of the bed to see if he/she was there before you picked up your gun and macerated the bathroom wall – and your innocent girlfriend. Dear god.
The press seem to be incapable of framing this as anything other than did he or did he not mean to kill his girlfriend (and how ‘hot’ she was) – it’s clear to me that he’s a man who kills without hesitation, and if he killed his girlfriend thinking it was someone else, that doesn’t make him innocent – it just makes him fucking stupid …and still a murderer.
The other thing that irked me this week was the make-up free selfie meme. If you’re on Facebook you’ll know what I’m talking about: lots of your ‘friends’ suddenly appearing in bad photos looking glum but otherwise not too different.
Naturally this ended up being hijacked for a charity (cancer on this occasion) and it made a shed-load of money for cancer research which is probably a good thing (although beware: some of these charities are immensely well funded and pay their CEO’s enormous sums: cancer’s not cured yet because it’s a mean little sonovabitch and sneaky, not because there’s a shortage of funds). Anyway.
Selfies are vile of course – just bad photos that show only the head and shoulders of the solipsistic one, but the notion that a woman without make-up is somehow rare or extraordinary or brave (e.g.. like a cancer sufferer) is patronising in the extreme. Both to women and cancer victims. I wear the odd smear of lip-gloss and a bit of eye pencil once in a blue moon, I’m not against makeup, but it’s not a defining aspect of a woman’s life and it’s not tragic or sad to go without.
‘Tragedy’ is the thought that a man like Oscar Pistorius might walk out of a courtroom if its deemed that as long as his murderous instinct was not deliberately targeted at his girlfriend, he’s an innocent man. That would diminish us all.