Do you remember where you were when you heard that Diana had died? I do. I woke up on the Sunday and switched on the radio over breakfast. Nothing but slow, miserable songs on Radio 1. And Capital. And Heart. Indeed, every channel I tried — and there are a lot in London. The occasional announcement that “due to recent events it wasn’t appropriate to continue with the usual programming” did little to enhance my understanding of what had happened.

After some time a flatmate emerged from his room and told me of the events in Paris that night. Many people, and not just the Daily Mail reading minority, seemed to feel the grief in a very personal way, much as one would a relative or friend. Walking in Kensington became a risky activity due to the large number of flowers covering the pavements and teary well-wishers stopping suddenly.

But my own mood failed to sync with that of the nation. Sure it was sad, but in the same way that I would be sad at the death of an actor from a seventies sitcom that I was only vaguely aware of. My reaction may sound callous, but I can’t fake it. I recognise that she helped raise the public understanding of AIDS and the plight of many countries still littered with land mines, but ultimately I didn’t know her. I never met her. And I couldn’t relate to her privileged lifestyle.

I didn’t want her to die but in the end she’s just one of many people that I didn’t know that died in 1997. There are thousands of road deaths in Europe every year and hundreds of thousands in Africa due to contaminated water, drought and civil war. I think it’s time that we paid more attention to them.

One thought on “Diana”

  1. First of all…one has to leave a kidney in order to post on your blog…and in response to Diana blog…someone once said on TV that 1997 is a year everyone will remember because of Diana. My mum got diagnosed with terminal cancer couple of months earlier and my world was preoccupied with checking if she got her transfusions and chemo.
    She also died that year. It is due to that I can never remember what happened to Di and when. Psychologists argue that horrible moments make things more memorable but whole of that year is a blur to me. I remember the feeling I had for the whole second half of it but not what happened. 🙁

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