or days now, we have known the name of the elderly black woman racially abused on a Ryanair flight from Barcelona to London. She is Delsie Gayle, 77, and from what we have seen from her reaction to the awful event, a person of notable poise and dignity. She looks like any number of my aunties; any of the estimable Windrush generation figures my late mother might have known through the church.
Now, after what seemed an inordinate time in this social media-saturated age, the abuser who rounded on her so viciously has been unmasked by two newspapers; traced to sheltered housing, referenced by contemporaries who have nothing good to say about him. There is a yearning, understandable after such a ferocious, public act of cruelty, to see him directly exposed to the light of hostile publicity, blinded by it perhaps. But what would be the point?
He may not be able to take responsibility for his actions. If he is, he is damned by them, by the knowledge that his show of inhumanity was seen by millions, by the terrible certainty that his dark side is forever transparent. That may be purgatory enough.