Think On by Angela Caldin

Lady Elizabeth Murray and Dido Belle, once attributed to ZoffanyI finally managed to see the film Belle on a plane as I crossed the Atlantic to New York. What a fabulous visual treat with thought provoking themes of racial identity and attitudes to the slave trade. This beautiful painting plays a crucial role.

The words of John Davinier as he speaks out against the slave trade and the reluctance of interested parties to change the laws that governed it brought tears to my eyes:

“Does the law not have a duty? Does the Bench and Parliament not have a duty to uphold and create the laws that progress our morality, not retard it? If not to protect us from others, then to protect us from ourselves. Laws that allow us to diminish the humanity of anybody are not laws. They are frameworks for crime. And quite frankly, I really do not care if you as an individual are without character or conscience. But a land whose laws sanction, not control, the barbarous among its citizens, that is a country whose hope is lost.”

 

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