Today is history
Last night I was reminded of the crew members that stayed on board the Titanic and went down with the ship. I recalled the minutes before the twin towers in New York collapsed just after final fire crews entered never to return. I remembered the many courageous attempts by others to save life in the face of ridiculous odds against any surviving from so many and manmade disasters from mines to tsunamis, fire, war, famines and disease just within my lifetime.
‘Today is history’ is a line used in the film ‘Schindler’s List’ by a Nazi officer as he embarked upon the culling of Jews in a ghetto. Believe it or not, such atrocities have plagued our history for centuries it is not new. Far from it. Allies have become enemies and enemies have become allies. The only constant, is change. When looked at that way you become quickly aware of how fragile things are at any point, as it is all too easy to recall only the injuries and offences, the brutally, to losses than it is to count the far more numerous instances where all harm was averted. They go mostly unrecorded so are mostly forgotten even within the confines of our own families where arguments can all too easily turn into life long rifts and embittered remembrances.
I am neither pro Israel nor pro Palestine, because I come from neither nation and have met lovely people from both. I regard myself as a citizen of the world first and wish to remain so to the last atom of my being; taking people as I find them as individuals on that day. This I have done since birth due to the Troubles in Ireland. My gender, appearance, sexuality, voice and my colour alone are enough to upset some without my ever uttering my opinion on anything. Born to an Irish mother and English father has always made me feel that I belong to no nation yet I respect all and am at times even proud to be a part of these British Isles for many things but not to the extent of being blindly patriot. I am most proud of what we have done to heal and help others in times of crisis, for when we as a nation have, for the most part united with that aim.
I for one, am not one to hold those alive today accountable for the atrocities committed by anyone’s ancestors. I agree as former Imperialists and Colonialists we are guilty of many crimes but the British have never been alone in that. Look far enough back and you’ll find that people trafficking and the exploitation of others including slavery has always been a part of any nations culture from almost the dawn of civilisation itself. It goes on still. Do you want to take part in yet another people’s revolution only to find yourselves being led by a more tyrannical regime? Do you wish to see our current monarch beheaded, her family slaughtered in a basement? Would you do it? Would you stop there if so or would you be like Oliver Cromwell to become a tyrant yourself?
For what it’s worth our present Queen did not start the slave trade and she is no longer the richest person in England in this her 70th year of her reign. I would imagine she is relieved not to be responsible for the future of so many former British colonies. I would imagine she is delighted that they have moved on from Colonial rule to shape their future for themselves. Wouldn’t you be if you had inherited that legacy with that history? If your ancestors were a rapists, paedophiles, slavers, murders, tyrants, guilty of torture are you responsible, born responsible? Are you prepared to stand in a court of law and be convicted of being responsible, and if not you, would you wish that on you children? I am not pro monarchy, but we currently have a fair, reflective, charitable one. It has not always been so. All I’m saying is be careful what you wish for.
You can easily come to the conclusion, as I have, that when you take into account the whole of every nation’s history, that it is little more that a vicious game of musical chairs, yo-yoing between extremes of one kind or another vying for control, power and money to sustain it. On balance I think democracy holds the most promise for peace but it’s history is not without it’s shameful, inhumane atrocities either. We need to do much better than this. We need to refrain from knee jerk reactions and should take more time to reflect on ALL of human history not just selected parts of it to bolster our current arguments on human rights which I fear will only lead to more wars and deaths of innocent lives again People, as history shows, are often seduced and forced into choosing an extreme ideology for their own survival. Is that the legacy that this generation of protestors are leading us to, on all the issues that trouble us now? Or are we merely having a global blow out as a result of Covid as that in itself has brutally highlighted so sharply the differences that exist between us?