Marks Of Disrespect

by Graham Rowlands

Graham Rowlands

It's a tragedy for the Empire, almost said Mrs Thatcher.
Mrs Gandhi was a woman of great courage,
Mrs Thatcher almost didn't say, thinking
how she was a woman of great courage too---although
now she'd transfer even her Northern Irish bodyguards.
Could she be deeply shocked yet again---
looking & sounding so unshocked, unshockable
you could see her in her coffin in the same makeup
(or at least on the video resurrection) saying
how deeply shocked she was. How shocking.
If she denounced the dastardly deed in New Delhi in London
the dastard got away like an escaping convict
on the way to the Colonial Antipodes where
no one (particularly not two politicians)
would stoop to score cheap political points
over his or his opponent's or for that matter
someone else's bullet-ridden dead body
(even if she was a politician
& even if they were electioneering)
but Bob did manage to mention yarning with her
at the Commonwealth Prime Minister's Conference
& Andrew remembered once when he was Foreign Minister
she, well, if she didn't actually cook for him
she at least supervised the cooking.
Bob was sorry. Andrew was sorry. They were both sorry.
How tragic for India, for the non-aligned nations
for the Free World, for the Soviet Union. (No.
No, they couldn't go as far as that ---not
even for the Gandhi dynasty, er, family.)
Both felt they should go to her funeral---pyre.
Everyone who was no one would be there from Bangladesh.
Even Pakistan would be there in person. But
both the Prime Minister & the Leader of the Opposition
as private citizens, mark you, in this great democracy of ours
(yes, not as large as India's but just as great)
had to accept invitations from the Sikh communities
as a mark of disrespect for Mrs Gandhi &
respect for, well, good marksmanship &
recognition of the legitimate aspirations of
almost the population of this just-as-great
but not-as-large democracy---although
1,000 less after the Golden Temple after Gandhi---
& how many hundreds more (less) also after Gandhi
not forgetting, of course, the handful
here, in swinging electorates.
Professor Geoffrey Blainey called a News Conference
to warn against this sort of multiculturalism
on Australia's very own doorstep. However---
he denied categorically the poisonous & paranoid rumour
that Mrs Gandhi's two Sikh assassins had ever
enrolled as post-graduate students of his
at the University of Melbourne. Wasn't
there enough strife in the world
(but especially on Australia's own doorstep)
without him stirring it up, he said.

Last updated October 26, 2022