In the face of a potential flashpoint, Tariq Jahan's restraint in the expression of his grief before the cameras and his refusal to blame the government or police for the actions of criminals stand out as an example of dignity and reason.
Like many others, I was impressed by the conduct of Tariq Jahan, speaking after the death of his son during last summer's rioting.
His appearance in court this week on charges of assault, while causing some embarrassment to those who had subsequently lauded him to the skies and proposed him for, among other things, the (dubious) accolade of bearing the Olympic torch, does nothing to alter my opinion of his behaviour on that day.
It does, however, suggest a motivation unknown to the millions hanging on his words. Jahan knew that, with the assault charges hanging over his head, any appearance of incitement to violence would be disastrous for his case and would, by association, tarnish the memory of his son.
It's a blow for those who like their news stories in black or white, refusing to allow that a single human nature could be capable of both baseness and nobility. There is something pathetic in this insistence - yet another symptom, perhaps, of a lack of maturity in the general population.
Perhaps it springs from a need to follow a leader, to have someone to look up to as an example; there are precious few worthy role models around these days so it's no wonder the masses look to the MSM and popular culture to supply them - and to lead the ruthless backlash should the idol have feet of clay.
Whether Jahan is found guilty or innocent will make no difference to the fact that, in a critical moment last summer, he found the right words and delivered them with dignity.
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