Monday 15 December 2008

Letter in "The Times"

This is the full version of the edited letter I sent The Times, which was published today:

David Aaronovitch's efforts (Comment, 13 December) to portray Jean Charles de Menezes as the "53rd victim of 7/7" may, at first glance, seem superficially persuasive, although perhaps not for reasons that Aaronovitch would welcome. Men trained to take lives killed Jean, after all, and he died travelling across London to work, unaware as he left home that his life was in extraordinary danger, or that at the critical moment, there would be nothing he would be able to do to defend himself.

But Aaronovitch is wrong and worse still, his argument insults the memories of the 52 people that died on 7 July 2005. Their tragic deaths were the product of the obscene actions of vile, murderous fanatics, unaccountable to no-one but themselves. Jean's killing resulted from of the conduct and decision-making of public servants supposedly accountable to us, who from senior officers to firearms specialists carried a duty of care that they spectacularly failed to deliver on the moring of 22 July. There can be no equivalence between the two events and the bombings in London and the deaths of so many innocent people can never be a justification for arguing that Jean's death is unfortunate but acceptable 'collateral damage'.

That is why the Jean's family and the Justice4Jean campaign continue to demand justice and accountability from those responsible for his killing – whilst also supporting calls, made by relatives of those who died on London's transport network in 2005, for an independent public inquiry into the 7th July bombings.

In a democracy, the grieving deserve and expect answers from the powerful about whether more could have been done to prevent their love-ones' deaths. Even Aaronovitch, an apologist for unfettered government secrecy and immunity under the banner of 'the war on terror', must be able to understand that.

Kevin Blowe
Justice4Jean Campaign

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