Breaking my silence

by Richard on June 1, 2009

I’m back. There’s been no particular reason for my absence. Just “stuff”. That, and not feeling like I had anything to say. And when you have nothing to say, it’s usually best to say nothing!

Last Friday I went with my family to Liverpool, a sort of end-of-half-term treat or the kids. It’s a simple plan: train ride there, cultural stuff till the early afternoon and then a spot of shopping before returning to the railway station. A simple plan but not, I think, a bad one. There’s a good bit to see and do in Liverpool, so there are choices to be made about what’s to be done if you’re only there for a few hours and if you’re there (or indeed anywhere) with youngish kids there are negotiations to be entered into if everyone is going to be satisfied.

Mind you, you can’t always tell what is going to be worthwhile. My youngest’s attention was caught by the Yellow Duckmarine in the Albert Dock. Disappointed that there wasn’t time for us to have a ride on it, she persuaded us to stand and watch it for a bit. I’m glad she did. This is an amphibious vehicle, but the seaweed or algae on the slipway proved to much for it as it tried to get out of the dock. We watched 5 of its attempts to exit the water, the last involving some serious wheel-spinning and burning rubber. For all I know, there’s still a duckload of people stuck in the Albert Dock…

From Liverpool

But for me, the highlight of the day was a visit to the International Slavery Museum. Here’s a place of real educational value. Much of Liverpool’s fortune was built upon its place in the slave trade, and to some extent I think the museum is an attempt to atone for that. Many of the visitors were black, and I felt from them the same the same sense of pilgrimmage that I’d experienced at the Martin Luther King heritage site in Atlanta. It isn’t very often that I’ve been moved to tears in a museum, but I admit I found my emotions hard to control here. It isn’t that I learned anything new as such, but to be confronted so directly with the injustice from which many of us are still beneficiaries was challenging to say the least. That, and the knowledge that slavery is still with us.

How long, O Lord?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Olive Morgan 06.02.09 at 7:38 am

Glad to have you back. It’s not the same without you, though you are fortunate to have Kim to fill the gap. That was certainly a moving experience in Liverpool. Will you be at Conference? If so, maybe we can meet?

2

Richard 06.02.09 at 7:40 am

I’m not going to Conference as such, but I might try to pop over for a fringe event or two. It would be good to catch up after missing you at Llandudno.

3

Olive Morgan 06.02.09 at 4:05 pm

I’ll be on the MET stall for much, if not all, of the time. It would be good to met if you can.

4

Dawn 08.13.09 at 9:46 am

Hello Richard - I work for the museums as part of the web team - great blog . I hope you don’t mind me posting.

It is always good to hear people’s feedback, especially when you can see how much they get out of a visit. I wondered if yourself or anyone else who enjoyed their visit to the International Slavery Museum would consider voting for us in the National Lottery Awards - we’re nominated in Best Heritage Category.

http://www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards/shortlist.cfm?id_category=5

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