Open Letter to the UK Itunes downloaders on the death of Margaret Thatcher

Please note: Thank you all for your comments on this popular blog piece – they have been insightful and inspiring – you have all taken the time to respond, respectfully and honourably, and for that I am most grateful.  If anything, many comments have shown me that I have lacked compassion for those who downloaded the song in the first place – I should have compassion for everyone.  I don’t have to like or agree with their actions, but I should always hold a measure of compassion.  However, I am no longer able to accept any more comments on this piece, as I need to focus on other writing.  Thank you, once again, all of you, from the bottom of my heart.

Well done, UK. Well done.  To all those who downloaded Ding Dong The Witch is Dead, you have made this song number 1 in the Itunes chart and number 3 on the billboard Top 40.  You’ve shown to the world that you have the capability to protest, albeit cowardly and completely lacking in compassion.  You’ve shown that you’d rather spend your money lining the pockets of CEO’s at Apple than donating it to a worthy cause, hell, maybe even giving your 89p to the homeless woman so that she can buy a hot drink and get out of the rain for an hour.  Imagine if you’d all spent that money towards a cause that actually did something useful.

You may have hated Thatcher for the lives that she ruined.  You may not even take the time to think of how your actions are affecting the family that she left behind, who may or may not agree with her policies (and if you have, and still went ahead and did it, I feel so sorry for you lost in your world of petty hate).  You need to know that you are not hurting her, you are hurting her family, of which there are people like you and me who are as far away from what she believed in as could be humanly possible.  You’ve demonstrated your complete lack of regard for those left behind, and may have ruined, or at the very least hurt some innocent lives yourself by doing so.

Revelling in the death of your enemies does not make you a better person.

I believe all suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their happiness or satisfaction. Yet true happiness comes from a sense of peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the cultivation of altruism, of love and compassion, and elimination of ignorance, selfishness, and greed.” – Dalai Lama

You may think that you were being witty, or clever in doing so. In fact, you’ve only bought into the culture of selfishness and greed that you proclaim to so detest.

Well done, UK.  Well done.

P.S.  A friend just invited me to this on Facebook. A beautiful and inspired way to show the world how you feel about this.

Edit:  This has just come to my attention – Don’t Hate, Donate.  Make a difference with your money, instead of downloading silly songs.

A good article in the Guardian from Russel Brand –

Edit: the title of this blog has been edited to be more specific, as some people were misunderstanding just who it was aimed at and why, and I would like it to be clear…

30 thoughts on “Open Letter to the UK Itunes downloaders on the death of Margaret Thatcher

  1. I’m confused about exactly how to respond to this because although I pretty much agree with what you’ve said I really dislike the way you’ve said it and hence your words have made me angry. I did not download the song (apart from anything, many of my friends are witches so it would have been insulting to them) but I do understand why the British people want to protest about the way the press and government have handled her legacy. She did a great deal of harm to this country and was sacked by her own party in the end and yet we are seeing history being rewritten and Mrs Thatcher being given a state funeral at our expense. I did not celebrate her death but I am utterly opposed to anyone who wants to celebrate her life.

  2. That piece that saved me the trouble of making the same point with considerably less eloquence. Thank you.

    To the recent debate about whether or not the ‘wicked witch’ song should be played on the BBC radio (three days before Thatcher’s funeral) I have this to add. The confusion here stems from the fact that this has been incorrectly nailed to the cause of free speech, yet there are no restrictions on anyone making their views known in any number of ways. Some disk jockeys have said that it has to be played because the weekly chart is some kind of essential truth that must be reported. I ask, would they feel this way if the song that had been gerrymandered into the charts was a protest against their blind-eye turning to Savile’s crimes? Perhaps an adaptation of the Cowardly Lion’s ‘If I only had the nerve’?

    I would not want that either. Let’s not use ‘freedom of speech’ to throw out compassion and decency; they are worth struggling for too.

  3. Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Expression. I acknowledge and respect your opinions. Did The Wicked Witch EVER aknowledge and respect in the same way? NOPE. Let us celebrate and agree to disagree. Its called Democracy.

    • I simply live by the motto – treat people as you would wish to be treated. If someone abuses me, I will not abuse them back. I will work to make the world a better, not worse place… and yes, some people will disagree.

  4. Well written! My sentiments exactely. Maybe the two of us would think different, if we would have been involved ourselves in this time, maybe not? I’m really surprised by the hate resurfacing over her death after such a long time.

    • Well, I’m old enough to remember when she was in power (I just look young) and I know the atrocities she committed. It doesn’t mean that we should behave abhorrently back. It really is surprising, isn’t it, the way that hate resurfaces?

  5. And there is one fall down here…….. You state …. ‘Revelling in the death of your enemies does not make you a better person!’ ……. It is only you that is stating this I believe people have a right to their opinions and how they feel and the freedom to express this and who are you to state such a thing! From reading this article I feel more that it is you that is trying to better yourself. I am in agreement there seems to be a lot of anger involved but when one doesn’t express this it only causes dis harmony in themselves. Let people have the freedom of speech without casting such a overall opinion yourself. I would rather you spoke of your feelings not speak for others!

  6. I’m afraid your post says not much about “the death of Margaret Thatcher” as the title suggests. You’re right the DingDong campaign is pointless and a bit of a waste of money but your appeal to forego selfishness is misplaced. That woman and her fellows deliberately cultivated the fetish of greed and self-interest and re-engineered society (in some cases illegally) to reduce collective, sharing, re-distributive policies which attempted to make the country more susceptible to the “altruism, love and compassion” espoused by your Lama. Most of the millions of people who will protest on Wednesday are not petty or selfish; they are making a legitimate political protest against a philosophy of hate and greed which is being reinforced by this government’s decision to turn this into a celebration of Thatcher and Thatcherism. I’m afraid you won’t “believe” the world into being a better place. Sometimes you have to fight.

  7. Jo, I can’t begin to express my anger, contempt and sadness at your words, its only because I know you that I am able to restrain myself, but really…….. words don’t fail me, but I have just deleted a lot of them for the sake of not swearing and ranting on your page…….. but next time we meet, please feel free to ask my perception of the England I grew up in,,,,,,
    So disappointed………

    • I do know – all the Commonwealth knew of the atrocities that happened. Dancing on the grave of the person who lead these atrocities does not solve anything though. Actively working to heal the wound, instead of causing others, is the path that I follow. xox

    • Oh, Phil, did you not see that this letter was addressed to those who bought that Itune? A lot of comments here seem to miss that bit… saddened by your contempt, and hope through communication and honourable relationship that we can see the other side. x

  8. Hmm whilst I agree with the sentiment Joanna, this idea gives her supporters a chance to sooth their consciences on the day the person who more than any other was responsible for the poverty they profess to want to help.
    I would ask what they intend to do the next week or the week after that?

    • I’m sorry Paul, I don’t really understand your comment – how does this help to soothe her supporter’s consciences? I’m confused as to who you are referring to…

  9. I very much agree that the hate-mongering that is now rife on this subject is a negative essence I am avoiding as best I can.

    Can I offer some advice though. It would perhaps be more wise to be more specific at who you are labelling. My first reaction to your blog title and subsequent statements was “Ahm, excuse me!”. Making a wide sweeping statement at the UK is counter productive and quite accusatory. For all the media coverage this is being given the people involved on both sides of the fence are still a huge minority. If I blogged something along the lines of “We’ll done USA, aren’t you all stupid for guzzling the worlds oil supply” it is not exactly a fair or accurate statement to make.

    I want to re-emphasise though that with that point aside you are very much right that those involved should take the spirit of this renewing of an issue and focus it on something worthwhile. If they disagree with parts of her legacy then actively work to change them.

    • My letter was specifically aimed at those who downloaded that specific song, lining the pockets of capitalism without thought, spreading more hate instead of working to heal the wound, voting with their money in ways that could have been much better spent… but you are right, perhaps it should be more specific, maybe in the title?

  10. “Celebrating the death of someone is wrong” is an absolute statement, and there are a few people throughout history whose deaths have been rightly celebrated. Aside from that, celebrating her death may not have come from hatred, but from the fact that a social deformer and someone who has induced mass suffering in this country is finally gone.

    You excuse yourself in another comment, “Indeed, I am trying to better myself. Change must come from within.”, implying that this will take time and yet you do not afford society this same courtesy. A society, I might add, which has been warped and mutated beyond anything our grandparents would have recognised – and has been this way for decades now so most people in the current & new generations won’t know any better way of protesting.

    I doubt very much that Thatcher’s well-to-do offspring care much for what us ‘oiks’ do, celebration or not. They have their millions to throw themselves into, indeed they (thanks to the Government) are passing the £10 million bill for this state-in-all-but-name funeral to us taxpayers. They seem to have very little regard for us. So according to your ‘treat others the way we like to be treated’ standpoint why should we do anything other than return the contempt they’re displaying for us?

    And if it comes down to an issue of respect then bear this in mind: the Government – in cahoots with the media – is using Thatcher’s death & funeral as a public political stage, to advertise her brand of politics as a winning idea, not to mention advancing the Iron Corpse as a national hero. Given that her family is >not< having a quiet church service in her birth town, anyone saying those who criticise, denigrate, or mock Thatcher or her politics/policies in the same public atmosphere should be silent out of 'respect' is basically advocating censorship.

    Respect is earned, not given by default. This woman has done nothing to earn my respect (or that of many others).

    And no, I've not been to any 'Thatcher's death' parties. But those who do go have the right to do so.

    • Celebrate not her death, but the fact that she left power many, many years ago. Yes, she left a legacy, and yes, we are still fighting that legacy.

      I sincerely hope that people will find a better way of protesting. The sheer ridiculousness of this song-driven protest staggers me. There are many, many more ways one could achieve to have their say in this matter with honour and integrity. An Apple ITune is not the way.

      With regards to treating others with compassion, another Dalai Lama quote comes to mind. “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” Stop increasing the size of the wound and instead actively work to heal it.

      Besides, I don’t think anyone is gullible enough to fall for the media ploy, such as it is.

      We celebrated when she left power. Not at her death.

  11. Hi again Jo, because reading some of the responses above gives me that impression unfortunately.
    Interestingly enough there are lots of reasoned and dignified protests against the naked politicization of her funeral and the cost being picked up by the exchequer out there.
    Wear Red on the 17th for example is a peaceful non violent protest movement which allows people to express their feelings in a dignified way. It is totally opposed to any attempt to disrupt the funeral.
    Do you think that sort of protest is acceptable?

    • Hmmm – good question Paul. Personally, I find it unethical to protest at anyone’s funeral, and I know – this is no ordinary funeral, due to it’s, as a friend called it “not a state but still a state funeral”. If we are to protest, we must do so do those who are still holding the power, and any legacy she has left behind. As a friend said, “what’s the point of picketing a dead woman?” There is so much work to be done, and she left power long ago. Let’s work on those who are still holding power what we find deplorable, and make our voices known to them instead. Picket the Exchequer, Houses of Parliament then, making it clear that that is what you are picketing, perhaps…

      • There are protests that are aimed directly at the memory, some are reasoned, some are definately not.
        I hated Thatcher but I wouldn’t burn an effigy of her.
        Some protest ate definately aimed squarely at the government… Wear Red again for example is all about highlighting the anachronism of the governments there’s no money left rhetoric until a conservative icon dies, when the money could so better be used to combat the poverty and genuine suffering being inflicted on millions by austerity. (I work in urban renewal so see the effects of these policies first hand on a daily basis)

      • Indeed – I agree that the money could be better spent elsewhere. My blog post was simply that the downloaded song was a wasted protest, and my own ethical viewpoint, which others are free to disagree with, stop me from protesting at a funeral. This is brilliant –

  12. Joannavdh – your comments lack perspective. I live in County Durham where the working men of towns and villages across the landscape were forced from employment as one – decimating families and lives with nothing provided by government to compensate for the impact. The legacy of poverty created by this act blights the region to this day. Consequently, Margaret Thatcher became the justifiable focus of considerable ‘negative feeling’ for her acts and her death has represented a release for the many decent working people that had their dignity stripped from their lives. Reading your letter, I get the impression that your family has perhaps not been touched by such horror. Please try to better understand and accept the emotional release of her victims.

    • I would state once again that the release should have happened when she left office, not at her death. They are two separate things, in my opinion. I do wonder just what proportion of the ITunes downloads were from people directly affected by her regime…

  13. Please note: Thank you all for your comments on this blog piece – they have been insightful and inspiring – you have all taken the time to respond, respectfully and honourably, and for that I am most grateful. If anything, many comments have shown me that I have lacked compassion for those who downloaded the song in the first place – I should have compassion for everyone. I don’t have to like or agree with their actions, but I should always hold a measure of compassion. However, I am no longer able to accept any more comments on this piece, as I need to focus on other writing. Thank you, once again, all of you, from the bottom of my heart.

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