Irish women bearing children to West African sailors

Dora wrote...

All riots and urban insurgencies have far deeper roots than newspaper headlines afford them, and those in Liverpool 8 stretch further into history (and geography) than most. There is first the singular history of Liverpool itself, and what the city’s leading historian, John Belchem‚ pro-vice chancellor of the university, calls the “exceptionalism” that marks Liverpool out from the rest of Britain, stitching its narrative to the Atlantic Ocean more than that of the land on which Liverpool turns its back. This identity is precious to the sage of Liverpool and most immediately recognisable voice of the city’s people, Jimmy McGovern, known for his work on BrooksideCrackerHillsboroughThe Street and the rest. “When you are a port city,” says McGovern, “you look out, not back inland over your shoulder. Only when you are at sea are you looking towards the land, as my own family did when they came here from County Fermanagh; probably heading for America but presumably alighting with a certain fecklessness: ‘This’ll do.’ And in Toxteth, you have the Harlem of Europe. When we had the capital of culture here in 2008, the slogan was ‘The World In One City’, but that was only really true of Liverpool 8: black people called Riley and Williams, Irish women bearing children to West African sailors, and all of them, in some way, children of the sea.”

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