It is hard to know what to make of the recent arrests of the Indian and Iraqi doctors.
The foreign press in particular express some surprise that the presumed terrorists are neither ignorant nor uneducated and this is briefly echoed in some of the UK reporting. We should remember though that Mohammad Sidique Khan was neither ignorant nor uneducated. He seemed to be the epitome of a well integrated, westernised muslim right up until the point where he set off the Edgeware Road bomb on 7/7.
But this is more middle class, closer to home. What is so hard to assimilate is that these are doctors working for the NHS. They are proximate: as with the McCanns, as with Christopher Janaway and Matthew O’Donnell who were killed on the M25 in May, there’s only a degree or so of separation. They are trained as scientists; they should not be influenced by ignorant, rabble-rousing muslim clerics. Most confusingly of all, these are men dedicated to saving lives, not taking them. While I find it comprehensible that someone should feel sufficiently powerless, threatened and angry to commit indiscriminate acts of terrorism (or “resistance” as it was termed in war-time France) I find it almost impossible to comprehend that doctors should do that.
It seems that I am not alone. The Telegraph is running a predictable leader entitled “Muslims must raise their voices in anger“. Well yes. But why aren’t they running one entitled “Doctors must raise their voices in anger”?
The GMC, the BMA and Remedy are noticeably silent on the subject. So are all of the medical blogs that I’ve read recently. This is presumably because it is just too alien to understand. It is unsettling and challenging that people we are used to trusting could do this, and I suspect that the Medical community simply cannot comprehend that one of their own, eight of their own, could do such a thing.
This leaves me with so many questions about assumptions, prejudice and denial that I don’t know where to start.