Could this happen in the UK?

The picture that shames Italy was the heading and I clicked on thinking I would find some more evidence of Berlusconi’s vile sexism or something. But what I found was seriously, much, much worse.

Frankly, I feel quite ill. It comes to something when people are able to dehumanise a minority group so much that people can continue to sunbathe and picnic around the dead bodies of two young girls.

I’d like to think that it couldn’t happen in the UK, I’d like to think as a country that we haven’t dehumanised anybody. What is it is that makes one human being treat another so terribly? One of the commenters suggests that there are parallels to how gypsies are treated in the UK, but I don’t quite see it.

What I understand that In times or war for example, terrible things happen. There can be moments, even now in London, when someone fearful of their own safety doesn’t step in and get involved. But what happened on that Italian beach was of a different order. There was no war, no danger: just a complete lack of humanity.

Shame on the Italians who sat on that beach and ate a picnic, shame on the police who didn’t post someone to stay with the bodies until the ambulance to come to collect them, but I can’t help but feel shame on all of us for being part of a world where things like this can happen.

I am, reminded of the poem by Niemuller, which I have pinned up on my notice board for times just like this:

First they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the communists
And I did not speak out-
For I was not a communist.
Next they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out-
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me.


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