The Masque of the Red Death


Grief and sympathy are normal human emotions. When we lose a close member of family to death, whether accident or illness, we are touched with an emotion which is peculiarly human. it is a singular thing to be human, and it shows in how we grieve. True grief is reserved for those closest to us, a family member; a loved one from outside the immediate family. Being human, we also can feel sorrow at the death of a pet animal, because they have shared our lives; despite the knowledge that they, being animal, whether dog, cat, horse, tortoise, cannot possibly have shared our emotions.

When another human dies, one who is unknown to us, we cannot feel the same grief because we have not invested any mental capital in the unknown’s life, and therefore we are divorced from the need to grieve for one who is, and now was, unknown. That fact is why I detest the false shows of emotion for people who have died in the full glare of media publicity. For example, the murder of Joana Yeates bore a whirlwind of public grief, with memorials planned seemingly all over Devon and Somerset, yet she was just an ordinary woman who died. Or was it just the time of year when nothing much else was happening, so the newspapers and the tv went berserk over this murder? I would remove, from my critique, any memorial or ceremony to those of our Armed Forces who died whilst on active service, notwithstanding the fact that we are, in Afghanistan; in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and for entirely the wrong reasons!

I write of grief, of death, for two reasons. The first is that old age and death comes for us all. The silly rituals of vain women the world over in their stupid and ludicrous search to regain the flush of youth in their appearance has me asking myself has the world gone mad? We have women supporting, with cash, a multi-billion dollar industry in cosmetic products, including the injection of what is a deadly poison into their faces in the hope that ‘wrinkles’ will disappear. And in a country not too far away, people are dying because they have only contaminated water to drink! We now even see adverts for men showing how they too can regain their toned skin etc., but only if they use Product A, or as a last resort, Product B. The reply to my earlier question is of course that the world has gone mad, but we haven’t noticed yet!

The second reason for writing of grief is to express my sorrow for the 18 million souls who still have to exist and endure under the brutal dictatorship of the North Korean military. The pictures of the seemingly overwhelming grief spatter all over our newspapers and screens, yet we do not see the other photographers, the ones who systematically photograph the crowds of ‘mourners’ in the hope of catching a ‘dissident’ who isn’t quite as grief-stricken as he should be. The garish and revolting ceremonies, for a ‘leader’ who was no more than a figurehead for a regime which holds around a million of its citizens in concentration and re-education camps, should be banished without delay to a history shelf, and only discussed when the North Korean nightmare finally ends, when a subjugated people finally get their own chance to settle their own lives, hopefully by ending, swiftly and brutally, the lives of their oppressors!

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