Monday, October 22, 2007

Sorry Ken...

Back in Bristol at the weekend (to return a fender that the removal men took up to Lancaster by mistake). On Saturday morning we went to the Museum of the Commonwealth by Temple Meads station. I've passed it hundreds of times but never gone in, so I thought "now I don't live here any more, I can be a tourist and go in". Anwyay, it was really interesting. There was an exhibition on slavery which was quite depressing although very informative, and there was also a posterboard where you could give your comments on whether "we" should apologise to Africa for slavery. Someone had written "When the Romans apologise to us..." Personally, I don't think that there's much point in people who had nothing to do with slaverly, apologising for things their distant ancestors did. It just seems a bit hollow and an attempt to appear pious (I'm sure Ken Livingstone was very sincere when he apologised, but it's not something I would have done had I been in his position). I think what's more important is that we acknowledge and are aware of Britain's past role in slavery (and its abolition for that matter).

After I'd left the exhibition, I passed an advert on a street wall for "Are you being served?" which is a fetish party at Club Orgasm in Bristol. With its House Mistresses and Dungeon, it keyed into the discourse of slavery in a very different way to the Musuem Exhibition. Funny old world eh.

1 comment:

matty said...

I agree to a point. But, I do think there is some additional import when there can be a unified apology -- like the one Japan failed to pull together for Korea not too long ago.

What's that song -- "Sorry seems to be the hardest word"? ...but just "verbal-izing" it can mean a great deal to souls who are in torment over something that happened to their ancestors.

I think there is some empowerment in the concept.

As odd as it seems.

This country (which is sadly mine) has so much to apologize for I'm not sure where we will begin. ...I hope we can get the Bushies out of office to start with...