violence > 12/09/03

The world of the saga - the eternal battle between good and evil - infuses our world with ready-made solutions, but reality has a way of returning and reality is far too complex for the saga.

And yesterday, September 11, had an ominous and foreboding ring to it - and it became, once again, a day of unsettling events and news. Anna Lindh, the Swedish foreign minister, had been stabbed to death. Once again, 17 years after the shooting of prime minister Olof Palme, a politician had been killed while trying to live like you and me - Anna Lindh while shopping in a department store, Olof Palme in a street after having been to the movies - with neither body guards nor security precautions and thus vulnerable to life, and death, like you and me.

Before the vicissitudes of life we’re all vulnerable, in death we’re all equals, and their deaths remind us of our own vulnerabilities - is that what ‘national trauma’ refers to?

But they were not like you and me - except in death - both were front figures in domestic politics and on the news almost daily - both were committed internationalists acting on the global arena. Life had changed. Reality had changed - and clashed with political idealism.

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