Last night I was listening to a song about the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester. It happened in 1819, almost two hundred years ago. The reason why it sticks in my mind is that eventually the Free Trade Hall in Manchester was built on that site.
And I have stood on the stage there as part of a choir singing all sorts of songs. As well as attending all sorts of concerts. Now it’s actually been turned into a hotel and I wonder if anyone staying there ever hears the cries of the people who were killed and maimed. Because that’s what happened. People protesting because they were starving. Women, men and children gathered to express their dismay and anger at the way their lives were being made difficult. And they were cut down because the people with the power decided they could do such a thing. As a way to quash the protests. I suppose I could say it was different times. And ask why it matters right now.
And perhaps it doesn’t to most people. I know that we are often ignorant of our own history. The massacre was something I learned about because my school used the hall. It hadn’t made it into the history books for our exams. Maybe it was too brutal and inexcusable for our young minds. I think different times can sometimes be best forgotten. However, I also see in the story of this massacre many of the parallels of our more modern times. Large gatherings of people often provoke violence. But not always from the people who are protesting. So why do we still need to protest? Has our history taught us nothing about how to ensure we have the best governance?
I wonder how many times we will have to go through to remove the need for protesting? When will the people we choose to lead us be honourable, wise and selfless? I know that karma keeps comes around. Even if, as with the Peterloo Massacre, the actual event has slipped from public sight. Maybe the non violent protests that have been happening today will generate a different outcome at last.
Day 960 of my blogging challenge