The horror on a Woolwich street, followed by the bludgenous stupidity in the Old Bailey. The taking of a man’s life, followed by the inane, cretinous and wilfully blind self-justifications we heard in court from two men who have crossed into territory that no deity – of any order – would ever sanction, let alone encourage. The miserable self-satisfaction. The puffed-upness of two fools who turned killers. The terrifying fact that one of these men, Michael Adebolajo - whose justification for hacking a man to death sounded like an ill-thought out undergraduate rant - had in fact attended Greenwich University. What kind of a man could stand in court – by the victim’s family – and spout such terribly banal, such terribly stupid drivel?
A fanatic, of course. But more than that, someone incapable of looking at the world through any pair of eyes except their own. A man capable of saying that “Allah caused [Rigby] to cross in front of my car”. It makes you want to scream. No, you murderer, Allah did not. Not one single Muslim in the country – except you two and your band of termite-hearted acolytes – would recognise or condone what you did as an act worthy of touching the word ‘Islam’.
Several times throughout the case, Rigby’s family left the court. Far better than to listen to Adebolajo – unapologetic, uncowed – babble on with infinite moronism. No justification can exist for killing a man in cold blood, of course. But, for any observer, reading the story in the paper, to hear the defence of Adebolajo could not but add misery to this exceptionally dark episode. “Even before I became a Muslim, I didn’t agree with foreign policy”, he said. An uncontroversial position. But to let your soul get twisted from that stance to one in which you can plough down a man in the street is emblematic of a cruelness, a smallness, that one cannot but hope is confined only to the very worst of humanity.
In his own mind, Adebolajo is still a hero. A soldier obeying the command of Allah. The one thing we can hope for him, as he goes stale in prison, is that some flash of self-awareness breaks through this armour of fanaticism and foolery. A realisation of what he actually did. The judge could not break his self-assurance, nor the tears of his victim’s family. But time might. The whisper should go: ‘I am not a soldier of Allah, I am a murderer, I am a coward’. Now these two have been found guilty, we should forget about them as quickly as possible. Confine them to the same dark corner as the worst of criminals who languish in prisons around the world: unloved, unmourned, irredeemable. And hope that time does its work.
For Independent Voices Editor Simon O'Hagan's response to the trial, go here: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/lee-rigby-murder-the-difficulty-of-responding-to-such-seemingly-motiveless-malignity-9015861.html
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