The Nation, Lahore

15 Jamadi-ul-Awwal, 1418 - Thursday, September 18, 1997, Lahore



Diana after death

Dr Rana Jawad Asghar

From paparazzi to a drunken driver, everyone seems to be suspecting and guessing - who really killed Diana? This mystery is becoming more and more complicated. First, we were told that the paparazzi were to blame. Di's brother, Earl of Spencer became a spokesman of all the celebrities who are being haunted by such photographers when he held publicly tabloids responsible for the death of his sister. He told one of the biggest ever audience of the world watching television: "I see blood on their hands". All five editors of the famous tabloids of UK were told by Diana's brother not to attend the funeral even though they had the invitations to attend. None of the editors attended the funeral.

In the United States, the popular tabloids were pulled out of the market shelves because they had published the very personal photographs of Dodi and Diana. Though these issues were published before her death, the public mood was such that big supermarkets pulled these issues only not to annoy their customers who were mourning Diana and blaming paparazzi and tabloids for her death. Tabloids took quite a heat for a week and then stroke back. On September 12, it was in many newspapers here in the USA that Diana's brother who portrayed himself as a champion of moral values and had pledged to take care of the two princes, himself has a very shabby past. He himself was using Diana's name to project himself on TV in the United States. It is said that he has a history of infidelity and that he had to flee to South Africa from the press where he now lives permanently.

The driver of Al- Fayed family is also being blamed for this fatal crash. It is found that his body had three times the legal limit of alcohol. In France, this limit is very low. While in USA, it is half the legal limit. The Al-Fayed family released the driver's surveillance video from the Ritz Hotel, taken moments before the accident and he looked fully alert and completely in his senses. Experts say that apart from legal points, if a person looks and appear fully alert, it is more significant than the blood alcohol level. But tabloids are smelling blood in the water. There may be huge liability issues that will come against the Al-Fayed family as they owned the Ritz Hotel where the driver was employed. Though the family is also striking back by providing another video which showed that photographers were using such powerful flashes that they could blind a person for a moment.

But the accusations do not end there. Many people blame the royal family for the accident indirectly and say that if she wasn't divorced, the accident may have never happened. Some suggest that since she was in love with a Muslim and their relationship was becoming very serious, some individual or any secret service could be responsible for the incident. In Egypt, the story is published as a book which is selling like hot cakes and it also includes Jewish links to this conspiracy. I do agree that it may be very hard for the British public to digest a public romance of Diana with a Muslim and thinking of their future marriage was quite a hard thing to be swallowed.

On the very night of the crash, Dodi presented her with a big diamond ring, though no one knows the significance of it. But at this moment, it is too far fetched to say that someone deliberately planned and killed Diana. Still the blame lies on the paparazzi who were pursing the car with their flashes clicking and some motorcycles were even blocking them by driving in front of them so that their mates could get better pictures. And some after the crash instead of helping the injured kept taking photographs and some says that one of them even changed the position of injured Diana to take a good picture.

The policemen who reached the spot immediately told these photographers and pushed them. These pictures are for sale now and one German tabloid has already published some of them. But most of the western tabloids have said that they are not going to use these photographs, not as they have become moral but because they knew that the public is so much annoyed with them.

Media and especially, the tabloids are trying their best to shift their part of blame to someone and after autopsy, in the report of the driver they have found an easy scapegoat. And by blaming him they could kill two birds with one stone. Shift their part of the blame on the driver and on the other hand, make the Al Fayed family responsible for Diana's death because they failed to protect the princess. And remember, though the Al-Fayed family has bought Harrods Store, a castle and lot of other things, the British still have not accepted their citizenship request. He is rich and comes from an Islamic country and this is sufficient to make him an easy target. But death of his son Dodi with Diana has also made some soft corners in the heart of general public for them so a direct assault on them may not be possible in very near future.

But the death of Diana has made a bigger impact on people more than she could think. It is being said that the charities for whom she was working have got public attention again. Those charity organisations are getting millions of dollars and people are giving donations to them from one pound from an unemployed to four million dollars from a corporation. Canada, on September 12, has announced that in honour of the work of Diana, Canada will destroy all its landmines in one years time. Certainly, a big achievement for her cause and then the question arises - is she really dead?

ŠThe Nation Publications (pvt) Limited, 1997


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