Wednesday, 3 October 2007
Jean Charles de Menezes
I remember the day Jean Charles de Menezes was killed surprisingly well for someone who can't remember what she did last weekend half the time. I remember people saying 'good' when the news trickled through that the police had shot a terrorist. I remember the stories of how he ran from the police, vaulted the barrier, and was wearing a bulky, padded jacket.
Except, as we later discovered, it was all a load of bollocks. This is a part of the story that really needs to be remembered; stories were leaked to smear Jean Charles whilst his brains were still lying on the floor of that tube train. The mentality of that tells you all you need to know.
But of course, there are other wider issues at stake, issues of the rights and responsibilities of the police. Our trust in the police to protect us. But also, the incompetence and sheer stupidity of the police, and the lack of cohesion in the entire operation.
Today in the paper was a picture of half of Jean Charles De Menezes face and half of the real terrorist, Hussain Osman. This is meant to illustrate that the two looked similar. True, they are both men, with short hair. I would have though the main giveaway though, would have been the fact Jean Charles was Brazilian, and an entirely different nationality and colour to Osman. Does that not ring alarm bells? if not, it bloody well should have. If you're considered responsible enough to be put in charge of a firearm, you should at least be able to tell the difference between two varying enthnicities.
If you're a Muslim and feel afraid people are looking at your rucksack warily on the tube, I don't blame you. And this goes even further. If you've even got dark hair, or a tan, you are equally a target. And don't think it stops there. It goes further. That's the whole point of this, and a terrorist could not have planned it more beautifully, because it must be their dream to make innocent people random targets. A police state where you are gunned down without so much as being arrested, that is true terror. That makes Guantanemo look tame.
The fact is this, we do not have the death penalty in this country. We are a civillised society. And it is unacceptable for an innocent man to be shot dead by the police. There should have been rioting on the street because of this. Yes still you will hear people roll out excuses. What if that was your partner, your son? What then?
The whole thing would be farcical if it wasn't so horrific. The police turning up late, then going for a wee, then not spotting the 'suspect' because the policeman was urinating. Why didn't they stop him before he got on the tube? They had ages. They really did. They put the public at risk by not stopping him sooner, if they believed he was a bomber. But hold on. There was no bulky jacket. So why exactly did they shoot him?
Then only yesterday we discover that an undercover policeman was almost shot by these trigger-happy fucking morons. And then the tube driver. For fuck's sake. Did they think they were playing a computer game? We pay money for these people to look out for us. They were virtually picking us off that day.
And what punishment do they get? None. They shoot a man seven times in the head in front of a bunch of people (can you IMAGINE? Just try and imagine even witnessing such a thing, I'd never recover) and no one has even said sorry as far as I know. No one has resigned. This is now a health and safety enquiry. Is that all? They offered his family £15,000. What an insult.
The image that sticks in my mind (apart from that one, above) is Jean Charles de Menezes picking up the Metro as he walked into Stockwell tube. Just like we do every day. Just minding his own business. It is murder, as far as I'm concerned. What's the difference? He was pursued and shot dead like an animal. No right to reply.
I will leave you with Commander John McDowell, who arrogantly said today 'I remain of the view that I and we did our best that morning to mitigate what was clearly a threat to the public in very difficult circumstances.'
It seems to me the only threat to the public that day were the police and their bungled, unforgivable operation.
Oh, and please remember, they shot him seven times. In the head. Just to make sure.