I recently had the pleasure of watching The Iron Lady featuring Meryl Streep on TV the other night. I had settled down for a quick tour through the channels on a Sunday night expecting for there to be nothing but tripe. I wasn’t able to see it at the cinema as hubby would have enjoyed it as much as watching wallpaper hanging.
Two things struck me most about the portrayal of Maggie Thatcher: 1) the influence of Dennis Thatcher and 2) her lust for confrontation and war. There is a scene when she is writing to all the families of men killed during the Falklands war, sympathising with their loss by sharing the fact that she too is a mother. I’m sure that will have gone down like a lead balloon with many grieving parents. At the end of the film you are left with the question “Was it all worth it?” as she had to battle for absolutely everything to achieve in her position in that era hence the nickname ‘the iron lady’.
On my kindle I am reading the diary of a woman in her fifties surviving the WW 2 blitz in London. She is in a very unhappy marriage and blames all the ills of the world, including the war, on men. In her diary entries she states that ‘this is a fools war for men are fools’. I think she would have found it hard to believe that decades later the first female prime minister would start a war.
My daughter’s audio-book is written by Michael Morpurgo about a girl in WW 2, who loses her cat when her family re-locates so that British and American forces can practice the D-Day landing in her village. My daughter listens enthralled as we wait in the car for the school bus each morning to find out how the hunt for the cat is going and the girl’s terrifying journey into an area where soldiers practised with live rounds of ammunition. In the story, the girl meets an African American who helps her find her cat and her and her family become friends with this soldier and his accomplice and no longer feel hatred towards the ‘yanks’. The story covers loss as the girl waves goodbye to her father when he goes off to fight and hears of the deaths of her teacher’s husband, her friend’s father and the friend of the African American who was killed in D-Day practice. The girl wouldn’t have been much older than my daughter and the bravery that was forced upon everyone, no matter how young or old, was incredible. It is great that children’s authors like Michael Morpurgo can bring history to life so that children have a sense of what it was like in war-time through the eyes of another child their age.
On the whole it is women and children that have to tolerate life in a conflict that is beyond their power to stop. But women can instigate it too, as in the case of Maggie Thatcher….but all her advisers were male……was she just a puppet??
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Thanks for reading.