BBC Radio Scotland
Thought for the Day
Dr. Amanullah De Sondy
Monday 9th January 2012
Mention the name Margaret Thatcher to many Scots and you won’t be surprised at how colourful the choice of words are in response. Last Friday I went to the opening night at the cinema of The Iron Lady, the movie starring Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher. I was intrigued to watch this movie for all sorts of reasons. Prime Minister Cameron had earlier responded that the acting was top notch but wished that the movie had come out ‘another day’.
Regardless of what side of the political spectrum we find ourselves, the portrayal of a powerful women who fought through in a man’s world of politics was greatly moving. Watching the once powerful prime minister who led the Falklands war, turning frail and confused, suffering dementia, left me with mixed feelings and thoughts. It reminded me of the untimely death of Benazir Bhutto, the first Muslim prime minister of Pakistan, assassinated in 2007. In similar fashion to Thatcher, thoughts and feelings on Bhutto are not always positive. I remember reading Bhutto’s autobiography, ‘Daughter of the East’ in 4th year at Hillhead High School and being moved whilst reading how she wanted to continue the iron mantle of her Father against social injustice.
Yet this is the very nature of politics – friend or foe, we can easily highlight the best and worst in anyone but do we truly appreciate the significance of standing firm on a point of view, regardless of what that view is? As a Muslim I have been influenced by the many traditions that highlight Islam’s commitment to justice and peace yet I easily find such traditions supporting the actions of all types of political leanings. It is then not surprising that understandings of justice and peace often differ from one person to the other and differences may not always be tolerated. I am greatly challenged by the way in which Thatcher and Bhutto carried out the courage of their convictions, especially as women. As Eleanor Roosevelt once proclaimed, ‘When you have decided what you believe, what you feel must be done, have the courage to stand alone and be counted.’