Thursday 17 February 2011

Plaques - what a pain

I heard about this bloody awful battle regarding Dunkirk recently - except it's not what you think.

Dunkirk memorial unveiled after 10 year battle

A memorial honouring the role of the Thames boatmen who bravely helped with the Dunkirk evacuations is to be unveiled tomorrow after a former merchant seaman won a battle against politically correct bureaucrats.

Another plaque battle is happening at the moment in Newtown and Redfern regarding the installation of a plaque for TJ Hickey. Hickey did a runner when he saw the Police, managed to impale himself on a fence and died the next day.

But the talks, involving three agencies, have stumbled over five words. The plaque, donated to the Hickey family by Aboriginal students from the University of Technology, Sydney, says in part: ''T.J. Hickey, Aged 17, Was Impaled Upon The Metal Fence Above Arising From A Police Pursuit.''
So far, so good.

T.J.'s father, Ian West, who learnt of his son's crash from a television report in the common room at Bathurst jail, where he was a prisoner, said he was still burning with a sense of injustice because his family believed the youth died being chased by police. Mr West never said goodbye to the son who was 13 when he last saw him.
TJ was 17 when he died. His father last saw him at age 13 - we're not told why exactly. It could be because the father was in prison, or because he'd done a runner from the family. What I find interesting is that the father is so intent on putting up a plaque for a son that he didn't see for four years. Did they not see each other because the father shot through and didn't want to see the kid, or because the father was in prison and the family didn't want to visit him?

Whatever the case, this whole thing seems as political as hell to me, and I hope that the death of TJ isn't being used to further someone's pet cause.

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