Mas­sacre of the In­no­cents

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

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.

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