Monday, April 02, 2007

Amazing Grace

Two things from last week.

Eileen, Norma and I went to see ‘Amazing Grace’. It tells the story of William Wilberforce who lead the fight to abolish slavery in this country. Ignore the reviews - we all thought it was a great film.

The night before, after suffering Deidre’s excruciating neck contortions and wrinkly smoking, I stayed with ‘Tonight with Trevor McDonald’. Except it’s not really is it? After saying whaddya think about this, he buggers off and lets some cheaper presenter take over.

The topic was immigration - mainly concerned with the Polish communities. Nothing new was said.

As a young energetic teacher in the 70s, I taught in an inner city 11 to 18 comprehensive. Hard work, but I loved it. A high percentage of the students were immigrants or the children of immigrants. Their parents and grandparents had come here to drive our buses, tend our sick and work in our factories.

Many were Moslems of Pakistani origin. There wasn’t a head covering in sight, as this was pre Ayatollah. I would stand in assembly and admire the rows of shiny Shilpas in their shalwaz.

The other large group were of Caribbean (mainly Jamaican) descent. They used to tell me the best places to buy reggae in Moss side and bring me tapes for tasters.

A few years ago (when I was exiled in Trafford) the beautiful and brainy Karene turned up in my AS level class. She had moved between Manchester and Jamaica a couple of times in her 17 years. Karene had to pay the same extortionate fees as the non EEC ‘foreign’ students. In spite our shared history, these citizens of the commonwealth* had to pay exactly the same as students from Outer Mongolia.

Why did we have to abandon them when we became European?

Yes, of course we should apologise about slavery - no doubt about it.

But what’s that apology worth if the descendants of those slaves can’t come over here and take advantage of some of the legacy of the wealth they helped to create?
*Including Canada.



Blogger I, like the view said...

an excellent point

10:10 am  
Blogger Ackworth Born said...

just a quick
here, here
from here.

11:32 am  
Blogger Betty said...

Well, exactly ... saying "sorry" is just cosmetic if there's nothing else done to repair the damage. Was watching the BBC's programmes about slavery and A Short History Of Racism and they just emphasised how badly the British treated the people in countries they colonised.

2:46 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

Thankyou 'View':
Although I love being European, I reall do think we let the Commonmwealth down.

Thanks Gerald:
Would that be 'here here'from Hyde?

2:46 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

Hi Betty:
We synchronised.
Those programmes were a bit too graphic for cowardly me.

I agree about 'sorry'. Lots of people (including Kev) think they can get away with anything as long as they say 'sorry'.

2:53 pm  
Blogger Geoff said...

This post deserves more comments but all I can say is I agree.

1:56 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

Thanks Geoff - that's important to me.

2:40 pm  
Anonymous NiC said...

Geoff is spot on.

7:15 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

Thanks on behalf of Geoff!

10:57 pm  

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