The death certificate of Mrs. Margaret Thatcher lists her occupation as ‘retired stateswoman.’ As the only female prime minister, Mrs. Thatcher died on April 8, her funeral was on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. Commemorating her international influence has a personal dimension for me, living behind the Iron Curtain until I was 20. I was reminded how important are political convictions and decisions truly are.
Among dignitaries that came from 170 countries was also the former anti-Communist Polish President Lech Walesa, alongside Queen Elizabeth II. Her granddaughter, Amanda Thatcher, only 19 years old, read a text from Ephesians, capturing her determination and strength in one verse, “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with the truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.”
I was a young boy when it happened in 1982, but I can still remember sitting by the radio and listening to the quick response the Prime Minister Thatcher gave to Argentina’s invasion of the Falkland Islands. That political determination accompanied by a resolute display of military force led to the end of a ten week war with a victory for England, ignoring the pleas from the United States to enter talks and avoid bloodshed.
Before her rise to the top, in 1976, a soviet newspaper, Red Star, quoted Captain Yuri Gavrilov for calling Margaret Thatcher the “Iron Lady,” due to her outspoken opposition to Communism and to the Soviet Union. The nickname Iron Lady was used to describe strong willed female heads of government, but without doubt Mrs. Thatcher’s nickname is etched in history as Britain’s Iron Lady.
For a Romanian, looking back at our history, undoubtedly Mrs. Thatcher – the Iron Lady – was providentially at the helm of the British power in a time of great transformations in the Cold War affairs.
Her close relationship with Ronald Reagan led to the powerful political Western duo that made possible the fall of the Iron Curtain, ended the Cold War, and ultimately led to the dismantling of the Soviet Union.
Romania’s transformation began with the revolution in December 1989, event that eventually led to a transformation of a totalitarian Communist country into a growing democracy, now a member of the European Union. These transformations continued the path established in the 80s by Mrs. Thatcher’s political convictions and worldview.
I owe a great deal of gratitude for all that Britain’s Iron Lady did for freedom and democracy in the world, and I join so many other who commemorate one of the greatest heroes of our modern age, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher.