Outraged by the world? My tips…

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, February 12, 2009

Some things are just wrong in the world.

Last night I was struck by this thought when watching the Oscar-nominated film, Milk. Whatever your opinions on homosexuality, it is simply wrong to have a law that bans homosexuals — and their friends — from teaching in schools. This was what Proposition 6 intended to do in Southern California in the 1970s. Harvey Milk, a mild mannered, apolitical, in-the-closet gay man decided to stand up and be counted against the establishment.

I admired him for being outraged enough to say enough is enough. So many things in the last week have outraged me.

Lord West, the UK’s security and counter terrorism minister, has declared that Israel’s “recent bombardment of Gaza” has risked radicalising British Muslims. “The business in Gaza has not helped us at all in our counter-radicalism strategy.”

Lord West: perhaps you could tell those children in the south of Israel whose lives have been blighted by six years of incessant bombings that they shouldn’t expect any help from their government because it might radicalise British Muslims.

Or how about this: 23-year-old Michael Phelps is an Olympic hero; he has performed the unthinkable with his eight gold medals. Six months after his feat he was very stupidly caught on camera smoking a recreational drug. Silly boy. Silly for him, silly for his lungs and silly for his fans. I do not condone the use of drug taking. However, he has now been banned from competing for six months. Fine him. Shame him. But how could a bong constitute a performance-enhancing drug? Phelps would be more likely to do that by sitting around and gorging himself on M&Ms while listening to Pink Floyd.

As for South Carolina Sheriff Leon Lott, who considered prosecuting him: he’d be better off going after crazy religious preachers. Which leads me to the Pope.

Richard Williamson denies that six million Jews were killed by the Nazis. He refuses to recant his denial, saying that he needs to “look at the evidence”. Nice. And the Catholics have spawned another, Father Floriano Abrahamowicz, who has also cast doubt on the Holocaust.

And finally: Caryl Churchill’s Royal Court oh-so-prompt reaction to the Gaza crisis. Ten minutes long, Seven Jewish Children is billed as a “Brief History of Israel”, ending with the “bombings of Gaza”.

Caryl Churchill is Patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, so getting her to write a brief history of Israel is akin to getting… oh, I don’t know… Richard Williamson to write an introduction to Schindler’s List.

I am awaiting the Royal Court’s equally prompt reaction to Zimbawe: perhaps A Brief History of Dictatorship in ten minutes; or The Tamil Tigers, a ten-minute chorus about the use of the people of Sri Lanka as human shields.

Each time, I have thought, “Right! That’s it I have to do something”, but I have been left impotent and silenced by... by what?

Fear of reprisals? Of not being not intelligent enough? Apathy? Tiredness?

Or just the faint hope that somebody behind the scenes is dealing with it and that it will all come right in the end. Some hope.

    Last updated: 11:30am, February 12 2009