Letter to Middle England – Tribute to Middle England
We are progenies of the values, hopes and expectations that have led us perfectly to these crossroads. We must now choose what path we tread for our environment, our fellow humans, our very existence.
In Chapter One: Tribute to Middle England, the author reviews the emergence of Middle England during the Victorian era. She examines the values and aspirations that were promoted to men and women at home and abroad, the landmark contributions of Middle England to the modern world and its impact on her life. She proposes that the unimaginable consequences – a potent concoction of liberalism, national and international activism blended with materialism and individualism – have brought the world perfectly to where it must be, face to face with the choices that it must now make.
When I was born, my ancestors, for reasons of history and karma, left me a legacy which meant I had to work hard at making sense of the world. Although my birthplace was in England, I had the good fortune to spend my formative years in Africa, the land of my parents. I grew up in relative privilege and lived within the cultural parameters of an Anglo-Saxon belief system. At the time I was growing up in Freetown, Sierra Leone, long before the civil war which ravaged the country, we had access to many modern facilities. Electricity, running water, good roads, good transportation, good quality medical care, good education, electrical goods, up to the minute technologies and a whole range of commodities made our lives very comfortable and rich. There is no doubt that the choices I grew up with because of the circumstances of my birth equipped me to access many opportunities including the ability to write this letter to you, at this time and place.
Because of the dynamism of your ancestors, ships were designed and built that connected worlds that we could never have imagined existed. As a result my parents and my grandparents before them were able to travel to England to study and have experiences which opened up our lives to ways of being, seeing, thinking and feeling that might not otherwise have been possible. The invention of the aeroplane provided unprecedented opportunities for people the world over to discover, explore, meet and enjoy different cultures, cuisines and values. Access to books and new technologies such as the television strengthened this connection to the wider world further. We were able to learn even more about people from distant countries and distant lands; of history, of politics, of sociology, geography, psychology not to mention the constant stream of scientific discoveries, medical miracles and the paradoxes of life. Civil society made us feel that we mattered as individuals and that we had rights as well as responsibilities. The religion of the Protestants taught us the value of hard work, enterprise and charity. Although I was an ambiguous consumer of some of the ideas, values and aspirations that your ancestors peddled, I have for the most part of my life embraced and enjoyed them.
Living in England for over half of my life, I had experiences and opportunities for which I will always be grateful. For the most part of my life there, I felt valued as a member of society and was a direct beneficiary of a liberal system which strived at least in principle to be even handed in the way it treated its citizens…