Remembering Thatcher, By Ifeanyi Uddin



They say you don’t speak evil of the dead. Any and every conflict and ill will are supposed to die with the deceased. It’s like when someone dies; they become an angel or an assistant angel, at worst. The devil could die today and his neighbors will show up and say how nice he was. It’s not like they mean it. But, what were they supposed to say? That he’s the devil?

Then Margaret Thatcher died.

I didn’t even know the woman was dead until I started getting e-mails inviting me to street parties and champagne parties in London. I thought someone had organized an election in the night and the Labor party was back in power. Turns out the parties were to celebrate Thatcher’s death.

Thatcher was a woman you couldn’t ignore. She was a bad ass who specialized in kicking men’s ass until John Major and his buddies sent her crying out of Downing Street. I still remember that picture – the milk snatcher who kicked Edward Heath into unemployment crying because she got an eviction notice. Classic!

It’s really a slap on history that some of the young folks were publicly asking who Margaret Thatcher was, yet they all know who Bugsy Bunny is or whatever video game character they’re watching. It made me wish these folks would be biologically re-engineered so they can be babies again and denied milk. That would make them remember the Iron lady forever.

I thought Thatcher was really cool when I first heard of her because she was the prime minister of the whole of Great Britain. I remember wondering if they had no men or army officers, seeing they colonized us and all we had to show for a Head of State was a pot-belied, army guy.

I actually thought Thatcher was dead before she died. She had disappeared form the scene and there was a movie in the works about her. That’s how you celebrate the famous dead. But, now I realize why I thought she was dead. I think she died that day they drove her away from Downing Street in tears. The “iron” melted from the lady in the cold London weather, leaving in its place a mere human whom most people thought carried in her heart a pen with no soul – slashing benefits; privatizing everything but the air and made sure blacks in South Africa remained under apartheid longer. It was in the making of the movie that I realized the Baroness was still alive.

The movie brought her back to life in a classic way. I thought it was a great movie, depicting a woman in a man’s world where she was the mafia don. Nothing turns some men on more than a powerful woman. But, Thatcher doesn’t do that to you. She was the ultimate switch off button.

There were the instances when the great actress Meryl Streep who was portraying the Iron lady had to be a wife and a mother. They were not funny scenes but they made me laugh. I just couldn’t see it. Thatcher singing lullabies to her kids; helping them with homework, cooking dinner and doing stuff our mothers did. That felt very un-Thatcher-ite.

Perhaps the man who defined Thatcher the most for me was Fela. In his album, Beast of No Nations, I really understood how the United Nations worked and how Thatcher, the woman who along with Ronald Reagan dually prolonged apartheid viewed the world.

Wetin united inside “United Nations”?
Who and who unite, for “United Nations”?
No be there Thatcher and Argentina dey
No be there Reagan & Lib-i-ya dey
Is-i-rael versus Lebanon
Iran-i-oh versus Iraq-i
East West Block versus West Block East
No be there dem dey oh- United Nations
Dis “united” United Nations
One veto vote is equal to 92 […or more or more]
What kind sense be dat, na animal sense
What kind sense be dat? Dat be Thatcher sense

Fela may be a musician but, boy, he could capture history like very few people could.

Thatcher was a heroine. She did what no other woman before her had ever done. She grabbed men’s balls and delighted in slamming them against the wall. It’s funny some claimed she shattered the glass ceiling for women. Wrong! That was Indira Gandhi. Thatcher was an individualist some confused for a feminist . If she’d actually shattered that glass ceiling for women, they would all have had shards of glasses in their eyes.

I kind of feel sad for the woman when I saw the banners and heard the songs at the Liverpool-Reading game yesterday. First there was the celebratory song and dance that swept through the stadium. ‘Let’s all do the conga, Maggie is no longer’, the celebratory song went. One banner read, “You didn’t care when you lied. We don’t care that you died”. Another read, “A stroke of good luck in a bit Maggie”. Ouch! The fans, especially the Reds’s fans, hadn’t forgotten the role Thatcher played when 96 of their fans died during the Hillsborough disaster.

Adieu, iron lady. Hope they still have some stuff that needs to be privatized in the great beyond. I guess some people do miss you. It’s just though really finding them. And, I’m not speaking ill of the dead. God forbid!



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