Monday 22 October 2018

Friends and equals don't need to ask for apologies

They understand the history, feel its pain, and move on with maturity, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

The decision by the White House to release images of Osama Bin Laden's home life in his dusty compound prior to the fatal raid by Navy Seals last month was generally regarded as a tactical error by security analysts, because far from showing the expected image of a mad bloodthirsty terrorist, what the pictures actually revealed was a rather risible and pathetic figure who spent most of his time watching himself on TV. One thing you don't do is boost sympathy for your enemies by making them look human.

It says something for the unbounded fanaticism of our homegrown holy war-loving nutters that their own vitriolic hatred of the Queen was in no way diminished by seeing at close hand the diminutive, unassuming 85-year-old great-grandmother that she is behind all the pageantry. Republican diehards see past the real woman to the hated symbol of colonial oppression beneath, and lob missiles accordingly, even during a one-minute silence to those who died for Irish freedom -- an irony apparently lost on the rioters.

Queen Elizabeth herself -- or the "British Queen", as the headline writers on RTE's website insisted on calling her throughout, just in case we got confused and thought perhaps the Queen of Narnia had turned up simultaneously on a State visit -- stuck doggedly to her longstanding philosophy: "Never explain, never complain." Though she would have had plenty of right to complain privately afterwards, had she felt the urge. The live footage of her meeting and greeting guests at Dublin Castle at Wednesday's dinner went on longer than Eurovision. The receiving line contained a total of 172 of Ireland's great and good (together with Bertie Ahern), each of whom had to be introduced individually by Madam President, before Her Majesty even got to the first course.

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