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Sian O’Callaghan’s Death Is Invaded By The Grief Circus

by | 28th, March 2011

SIAN O’Callaghan: As Christopher Halliwell is charged with the 22-year-old’s murder, thousands gather in Swindon to pay tribute to the victim.

It is a sign of a community come together over something terrible. Sad, indeed, that it takes something awful to bring a community together. The locals are sharing a common feeling. The self-interested individual is able to empathise with another man’s pain in moment of humanity.

From another angle, it is a grief fest, a chance for strangers to join in the big story and make it part of their lives.

At Swindon FC, the players and the fans stopped for a minute’s silence. Can so many people who never met Sian O’Callaghan feel so very deeply affected by her murder?

When did orchestrated public grief become the British way? Well, we know the answer to that: when Princess Diana died. (When James Bulger was killed in 1993, did strangers sign a book or place teddies and flowers on his grave?) The flowers, candlelit vigils and books of condolence soon became the done thing. But Whereas Diana’s death triggered a spontaneous outpouring of emotion, the remembering of others, like Baby P, is contrived. We look not to the victim but at the mourners and the news media that broadcasts the grief in hushed tones, shoving cameras into careworn faces and asking people how they feel.

Who has the biggest balloon? Who weeps the most? Which newspaper has the biggest campaign? It is now routine to show other how much you care and so prove how good a person you are.

This Is Wiltshire reports:

IT WAS the send off that the country had come to expect from a town united in grief. Thousands of people packed into the Polo Ground off Marlborough Road on Saturday night to pay tribute to tragic Sian O’Callaghan.

A two minute silence was followed by a round of applause, then children released balloons before thousands of lanterns were set off, lighting up the night sky in memory of the 22-year-old…

Some groups of youngsters even carried ‘S’ shaped silver balloons while others lit candles and took time to reflect on the week’s tragic events.

The young are being tutored in the ways of the world. It is now acceptable for children to hold balloons for a murdered stranger. Like the mum who took his kids for day out to Baby P’s gave, is there a sensible message to be deciphered from this? Is it just another “I was there” moment?

And then there is the talk of Sian O’Callaghan’s murder taking on a spiritual importance – just as a trip to Baby P’s grave became a “pilgrimage“:

Allyson Thomson said: “Absolutely amazing turn out, every balloon and lantern flew with nothing but love for Sian. I didn’t know her personally but I think Swindon’s Angel is a befitting name for someone who touched so many hearts.”

She died for a religious cause? Hold the thought the poor woman was murdered by an opportunistic lunatic. We have no idea how Sian O’Callaghan lived, but the living, in need of reassurance, say she is a sign of God’s love.

Meanwhile, Swindon Town Ladies’ Under 12s wore black armbands and held a two minute silence in a cup game against Trowbridge Wanderers at Ballard’s Ash in Wootton Bassett, while Swindon Town FC players took to the pitch in Brighton wearing black armbands in memory of Sian.”

Will they do this every year? If Sian O’Callaghan’s life meant that much to them, will the ghouls mark her life every year?

No. But the people who actually knew her will. By next year, the grief fest will long packed up the show and moved to a new cause…

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A woman shows her emotion as the police van containing Christopher Halliwell arrives at Swindon Magistrates Court.



Posted: 28th, March 2011 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comments (4) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink