My favourite quotes from this evening’s Front Row on BBC Radio 4:
War artist John Keane asked if he might be romanticising the terrorists responsible for the Beslan school massacre:
“I’m interested ultimately in what motivates people to kill people for political ends, for better or worse. And really the reason is: Everyone is a victim. We’re all victims.”
Playwright John Godber being questioned about his first radio play:
“Good writing is about using less words, not more words.”
A PLAYWRIGHT who does not know the difference between “less” and “fewer”?
He’s from Yorkshire, dad. I think you should reflect on the possibility that you have become infected with a crude Lancastrian imperialist grammatical prescriptivism.
Who got the ‘crude Lancastrian imperialist grammatical prescriptivism’ first? Your dad or mine?
John Keane: “Yes.” Now THAT’S using less (sic) words instead of more words.
We’re all victims? Really? My 4 year old is alive and healthy. I think a woman who lost her 4 year old in the Beslan massacre might not like to hear me call myself a victim.
If the slow and deliberate slaughter of children isn’t enough to change the worldview of the everyone’s a victim/everyone’s a terrorist crowd, then I’m ready to just declare them all moral cretins and have done with them. Whatever wisdom or knowledge they might have to offer in other areas is of no interest to me.
I’d just got back from Russia the day the Beslan siege started and watched it on TV whilst talking throughout the day to a Muscovite. Most Brits on the TV were talking about how this would change everything, and how nobody out there could possibly justify this, and how this sort of thing can only be condemned by everyone.
At the time I commented to my Dad that this would change precisely nothing in most people’s viewpoints. Once the initial shock of the footage has passed, the “Yes, but….”s will start coming out, and the USA and Israel will be enemy number one before the week’s out. I was right.
There is nothing crude about Lancastrian imperialist grammatical prescriptivism.
Actually I was talking about the Nord Ost theatre siege, not Beslan.
That’s alright then.
My apologies for the error.
Here is an account of the events of the theatre siege:
Sorry, obviously I wasn’t expressing myself clearly. What I meant was that the self perception of victimhood (real or imagined) is in nearly all cases the justification for acts of violence.
The lessons not learned from Dubrovka paved the way for Beslan. Indeed there are credible conspiracy theories that the theatre siege was carried out with the collusion of the Russian authorities in order to gain support for the second Chechen war.
I am well aware of the events inside the theatre – I have met 2 of the survivors (one with the ‘heart condition’), who came to the opening of my exhibition and liked it. Also the death of Olga Romanova (the girl who walked into the theatre) has been the subject of several of the paintings.
But anyway, have a look at the Human Rights Watch website and find out about the atrocities in Chechnya and it’s appalling history at the hands of the Russians (The whole population was deported by Stalin). These terrible events do not come from a vacuum, and unless we try to understand the contexts from which they emerge, the will continue to happen.