The following is the full text of a letter written by David Larder to the Guardian newspaper last year, following the court settlement which saw the UK government pay out £2,670 to each of the 5,228 elderly Kenyans judged eligible for compensation for atrocities committed in the 1950s. The UK government still refuses to apologise for what it did in Kenya. That’s one reason David Larder’s letter is worth reading.
As a very little girl, I remember shrinking from a particular sound, a hoarsely sharp, guttural rasp, because it often meant a nasty glob of grey spittle upon my coat or shoe an instant later. My mother wiped it off with little pieces of newspaper she always carried in her purse. Sometimes she fussed about low-class people who had no better sense nor manners than to spit into the wind no matter where they went, impressing upon me that this humiliation was totally random. It never occurred to me to doubt her.