Forget the Footnotes

Killing Tony Blair

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I’m interested in references to ordinary people who dream about assassinating political leaders. I thought I would write something about it and I started collecting references. This is what I’ve come up with so far:

  • Nicholson Baker’s Checkpoint in which two characters meet for a long discussion regarding the merits and demerits of kiling George Bush. I read the book but I wasn’t that impressed. It’s slight and too chatty.
  • The Assassination of Richard Nixon with Sean Penn. I acquired the film but I haven’t seen it yet.
  • Bob Dylan at an event for members of the liberal establishment a few months after the assassination of John F Kennedy rambling on, drunk no doubt, about how he saw something of himself in the killer. Or for that matter, Dylan’s conclusion to “Masters of War” where he is being very graphic about what he imagines for the kind of politicians who kill by proxy.
  • Dagens Nyheter reporting, Feb 22, that an American-Jordanian man was arrested in Ohio for plotting to kill Bush. Strangely, an admittedly quick Google search reveal no other obvious references to this story.

To fantasise about killing a president or a prime minister is surely empowering; it is a chance for someone totally powerless to imagine himself as powerful; you can do bad things to someone who has done bad things to you or to others you care about. At the same time it is a fantasy of someone deranged and marginal on the fringes of society, of loners and outsiders and freaks.

It always surprised me why the suicide bombers of last summer didn’t try to kill Blair. Blair, after all, was responsible for the Iraq War. The commuters who died were most likely out demonstrating against the war in the spring of 2003. Millions of Londoners were after all. The commuters were innocent, Blair was guilty.

As far as I’m concerned, I would have been very distraught if Blair had been killed. There can be only public justice, never private. Why should a few maniacs take the law into their own hands when Blair deserves to be convicted by a properly constituted court in the name of the whole world community? Aggressive wars on false pretenses are, I believe, against international law. After the death of Slobodan Milosevic, it seems there is free room at the Hague, but I’d much prefer to see him locked away on some remote island somewhere or perhaps thrown into a deep mineshaft (I haven’t quite made up my mind yet).

See, dreams of legal retribution can be empowering too!

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