Massacre of the Innocents
OF THE recent bombing outrages which have been executed in Britain, by far the worst was the Manchester attack, diabolically timed to kill many children coming out of a concert hall. While the Massacre of the Innocents would be the obvious phrase to use, most high-profile figures have shied away from powerful emotive language.
Perhaps the biblical origins of the phrase, deriving from Herod’s bizarre command in the Gospel of St Matthew, gives the reference too much of a Christian resonance.
Or is it that the deed itself is too hideous for logical description? (As Shakespeare reminds us through Macbeth: “Deeds have been done too terrible for the ear…” Now they are too terrible to be seen.)
Some in Britain are rebelling against the weak rhetoric of the leaders, such as Theresa May’s schoolmarmish: “Enough is enough”.
One reactionary tabloid columnist denounces such “pussyfooting”, declaiming belligerently: “We are at war.” Maybe so, but how does one win a war against dedicated suicide bombers?
Also, consider the global situation, where the Massacre of the Innocents goes on routinely in Syria, Iraq, elsewhere in the Middle East and in South Africa.