Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Twenty years ago today (12th July)

This is a significant day, as this is the twentieth anniversary of my mums passing, and rarely does a day pass when I do not think of her, but she is a long way away now.

I look with regret at a world that seems to be going backwards, as so many of the rights she fought for are being disregarded by Governments obsessed with penny pinching austerity and to heck with the lives of the people who depend upon them acting with equanimity on matters of equality instead of rushing ahead with knee jerk policies without a proper audit of the consequences.

Still what does it all mean to me, I am a changed person, I have not abandoned the fight but I have done something neither of us would have dreamed of back in the day, that is I got my doctorate, and I earned it with a piece of research that fully recognised the participants as my equals.

My mum I hope is not only alive in my memories, but in my activities, seeing through my eyes as history gives way. I wanted to do right by her, not knowing what I meant by that phrase, and I think I have. She was only a couple of years older than I am now when she passed, and she was beginning to engage that academic world I since took on, in delivering a lecture to a group of masters students at Warwick University. I was not allowed to listen to that, but I prepared the slides for her. Back then it was transparancies. 

Here is the text of one of them:

Discrimination then, is any act which diminishes a person’s status, rights to do anything, or go anywhere which would be normal for a person in similar circumstances without the impediment of: disability, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or class, which are cause of prejudice.

She was ahead of the game in the intersectionality of rights, and I wish she had have had time enough to follow the academic path I have.

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!-
For, the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
'Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, - act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on, the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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