Stuff happens. Get used to it.

Photo by Propboy - follow link for the originalI feel sorry for Mohamed al Fayed. I really do. No grief compares with that of a bereaved parent, and denial is a tricksy and difficult emotion.

So often the stuff churned out by conspiracy theorists boils down to the fact that they cannot believe that stuff happens. Diana was our collective golden girl (apparently) and so the conspiracy theorists cannot believe that stuff could happen to her.

Now the two things I know about life, if I know anything at all, are

1) Stuff happens
2) There, but for the grace of a god I don’t believe in, go any of us

So in my cynical and unromantic world, JFK was shot by a lonely and disfunctional man with a taste for glory. Marilyn killed herself by accident, taking the lethal dose of pills because she was grogged up by her usual nighttime dose. Diana was killed because the Feyed’s chauffeur was drunk. NASA did put men on the moon. Oh and, yes, America the rest of the world really does hate you enough for 19 men to want to fly planes into landmarks.

Whenever one feels denial, one feels conflict. At some level or another one knows that one is believing something that probably isn’t true, no matter how much one wants it to be true. The conspiracy theorists don’t want to believe that chance can be that much of a bitch. And this is one of the reasons I feel very sorry for Mohamed al Fayed; he is clearly a tortured and conflicted man.

The thing snapped me out of denial in the mid 1990s was the phrase “denial is always there for an ego reason”. And this surely is the nub of al Feyed’s response to his son’s death and the Stevens Report. If he had not employed a drug-taking drunk as a chauffeur, then his son and Diana would not have been killed. To lose a child must be unimaginably devestating. To know that you have a degree of responsibility for their death must make that pain unbearable. For al Fayed it is not to be borne, and so he persists in his conspiracy theories. The Daily Express are just being self-indulgent, manipulative and stupid with their outbreaks of conspiracist tourretttes, but Mohamed al Fayed deserves our compassion.

I wonder if he has ever met Princes William and Harry.


11 responses to “Stuff happens. Get used to it.

  1. Ouch. Certainly got enough of the anti-American vibe when traveling a few months ago, but it never ceases ignite my defenses on behalf of those of us not driving large cars and superflously shopping in big box stores and actually working for change. I know there is a lot hideous about America – just hard for me to wrap my head around hating anything enough to empathize with mass murder.
    I love your blog – hope I didn’t piss you off.

  2. There is such a huge difference between the USA and its citizens. I love so many of the people and hate the government. Same thing about this country.

    Also, I think it was news to a lot of Americans that being a Big Country means other people hate you – hence the conspiracy theorists. No-one bothered making a conspiracy theory about the 7/7 bombers; we already know people hate us.

    Don’t forget, the English have been hated for hundreds of years by the Irish, not to mention the Scots and Welsh. We know they hate us because they bombed us and set fire to our houses.

    It was a gratuitous remark, and I probably shouldn’t have made it.


    PS – they disassociate from the murder, of course. It’s all glory.

  3. PPS – 9/11 really was not about big cars and shopping. It was about the bombing of Tripoli, about supporting Isreal, about the imprisonment and maltreatment of Islamic activists, about arms for iran, about decades of foreign policy. The problem is that most Americans are so unaware of what was being done in their name, that the bolt came from the blue.

  4. Thanks for an insightful post. It did what many of your best posts do – made me think. I wonder what I’m in denial about?

  5. Well really, we are in agreement, then. And I do think you should have made the comment, I wasn’t saying that at all. In fact, I go around loathing so much about the country I live in it was rather pleasant to have a burst of nationalism, however brief. And I agree, 9/11 was about Tripoli and especially about our (in my opinion, wrongful) support of Israel….okay, I need to finish this tomorrow – hsuband needs computer for take home final. more momentarily.

  6. Thank you Mr Librarian. I’m glad you found the post worth reading.

    Thanks for coming back Courtney, and being so kind in your reply.

    I’ve spent a lot of the evening reading the Stevens Report. It’s quite clear that the French medics did everything that they could and followed normal procedures acting with professionalism and skill. She was bleeding internally from the vein between (I think) her lungs and her heart, and that bleeding and crushed both her heart and one of her lungs. She was in and out of heart failure for the three hours that she lived following the accident.

    It is also clear that the decisions around the embalming were made by people who were either following standard procedures (the French) or who were in considerable shock (the English), and that the language difficulties did not help. But no conspiracy there. The only odd thing is that the hospital managers did not put her in the mortuary. It is apparently on the opposite side of the hospital, and it seems that they did not want to run the risk of any coffin shots.

    It also seems that the only person who thinks she was pregnant was Mohammed al Fayed. He is also the only person who thinks that she had accepted a proposal, though it is certainly possible that Dodi was going to propose. However, Dodi was engaged to someone else in July of that year, so one can’t help feeling that he was being a bit opportunist.

    The irony of the thing is that she had chosen to accept Mohammed al Fayed’s hospitality because he had his own security team.

    Aphra Behn

  7. Another excellent and thoughtful post AB. I was talking about this with the Reg earlier. We’ve got to a stage where death of mother in childbirth is so rare that we forget that it is actually, without intervention one of the most dangerous time of a woman’s life.

    Now when mothers die people assume that they it’s because ‘something could have been done’. Quite often it is – sometimes it’s because of an unpreventable cause. That must be the most difficult thing to live with. The National Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Death makes interesting reading.

  8. In retrospect, my initial comment detracted from the overall argument of your post and for that I apologize. Because I agree with you – stuff happens. I am not a conspiracy theorist except where our current government is concerned.

  9. No worries. I like topic drift. In fact, my middle name is Topic-Drift. It’s double-barreled for empha-sis. đŸ˜€

    Take care.


  10. You can also say: Fayed is just being self-indulgent, manipulative and stupid with their outbreaks of conspiracist tourretttes and general tourrettes.

    What I find more repulsive is Fayed *using* his sons death to get at the British Government via the Royals and the ‘secret service’ connection because he simply can’t get a UK passport. The reason being his ‘alledged’ dodgy dealings etc. (See Tiny Rowlands and safe deposit box.)

  11. Oh, both Fayeds seem oleaginous, to be honest. But being an opportunistic slimeball does not mean that he is incapable of feeling genuine grief.

    Here, how’s this for a theory. Maybe he knew that Diana was not over-whelmed with adoration for Dodi, maybe Dodi didn’t really care which leggy blonde he bonked, and maybe ad Fayed Senior encouraged Dodi to make more of the romance than Dodi would have done otherwise, simply to get back at the Royals. So Mohammed al Fayed would be wracked with twice the guilt – once for providing a drunken chauffeur, and once for pushing Dodi into the relationship with Diana in the first place. I’m not saying that Dodi wasn’t happy enough to be there, but I do wonder if he was following his father’s agenda.


    Who cares.

    They are all dead, and in the long run so will we be.


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