Monday, 6 July 2009

An act of solidarity

Thank You, Mr President - an anniversary tribute to Abraham Licoln was the title of the concert by the Halle Orchestra and Choir on Saturday evening, 4th July, to celebrate Lincoln's 200th birthday. But why should Manchester celebrate Abrham Lincoln? The answer is a great act of solidarity.

The blockade of the southern states during the American Civil War led to the drying up of the raw cotton that fed the cotton mills of Lancashire. This caused considerable hardship amongst the workers. No cotton, no work, no pay. The cotton workers held a meeting in the Free Trade Hall in Manchester on 31 December 1862. Instead of urging the breaking of the blockade, they sent a letter to Lincoln in solidarity with the fight against slavery. Their hope was for the erasure of that foul blot on civilisation and Christianity - chattel slavery. Lincoln replied, deploring their sufferings. He said, I cannot but regard your decisive utterances on the question as an instance of sublime Christian heroism which has not been surpassed in any age or in any country. It is indeed an energetic and re-inspiring assurance of the inherent truth and of the ultimate and universal triumph of justice humanity and freedom.

That puts my efforts for trade justice into perspective - I just pay a bit extra for faitr trade products, not go hungry. All honour to the cotton workers who were prepared to pay a high price for a just cause.

PS It was an excellent and moving concert too.

1 comment:

  1. FAscinating - I love reading other people's blogs because I learn such a lot