Us and Them

This is not what I was going to write about in my first ever blog.
It was going to be about the monsoon. The rain, the grey skies hanging low. The earth a sudden violent green after months of scorched brown and yellow. The studio, quiet, cool, dark.
Then two days before India’s 65th Independence day, I got to the studio, to be met by two anxious young boys. They were the ‘security’. Arrived recently at the farm, where the studio is located, but living in Hyderabad for several years, they were employees of a security agency. They wanted to leave. Go back to Assam where they were from. They didn’t feel safe, here in Hyderabad. Some men from Assam had been attacked, beaten up, maybe killed. They didn’t know. They had heard something about a threat, that all assamese would be driven out of the city or killed. Incredulous, I found myself trying to reassure them. Who’s saying these things? who can drive you out? this is your country… almost immediately, I felt a little stupid and naive. And I knew they didn’t believe they’d be safe. They packed their few belongings, sold their bicycles and stoves and left the next morning.
It made me sad and angry and reminded me of a play I had seen performed years and years ago. Us and Them it was called. For the longest time I didn’t even know who the author was. David Campton. Over the years, this play has inspired a lot of my work. Borders and Fences. Walls fall.
I don’t know when it was written. But it must be at least 20 years old I think. And it appears we are doomed to suffer forever from the suspicion and mistrust of the other that Campton addresses.
18th August 2012

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