Tuesday, 19 April 2011
On skype, my brother waves his son's pink feet at us, until his sleepy son gives him (and us) a pained, weary look. I suppose it is rather trying being ogled and exclaimed over, across the universe. Father and son yawn in unison. Cry, feed, sleep, be adored, cry, feed, sleep. Be celebrated, on your birthday.
A few days ago, I watched 'Oranges and Sunshine' at the Arts Picturehouse. Based on the book 'Empty Cradles', it is the extraordinary work of Margaret Humphreys, a social worker from Nottingham, who stumbled upon a government organised scheme, deporting English children to Australia, Canada, New Zealand - 150,000 children, from the 17th century until 1976 when the scheme was abolished. Home Children was part of the Whitening of The Empire. And cheaper for the government. It cost £5 a day to care for a child on British welfare, but only ten shillings overseas. Poor single mothers were assiduously relieved of their little boys and girls, who in turn were told their mothers had died, and promised oranges and sunshine in exchange for their compliance in boarding ships and crossing arid scrubland. The governments have now apologised. It took 350 years for that apology, too late for tangible re-unions.
How lucky am I to know my mother, my grandmother, my great grandmother, my great-great... inspite of the pain, mine is a lucky, lucky life.
Posted by Shaista at 14:22