Note on "Language" in the diaries


In the writing of his diaries my father occasionally used racial language which we now find offensive.  I feel uncomfortable about this but think it is important to present the diaries as he wrote them as this allows a more accurate representation of the times in which he lived and his own experience of the world.  It also reflects the post-Colonial nature of the relationship between the British forces servicing the Mandate and the inhabitants of the land they found themselves in.  I regard my father as being no more and no less racist than many of his generation.  A racism born of ignorance and innocence rather than hostility or xenophobia.  In my father's defence I would say that he was a young man from a largely rural, South Devon community.  His experience of the World at that time was limited.  I think it is to his credit that he opened himself to this experience and in doing so found himself drawn to the local people whom for the most part he found hugely hospitable.  It is apparent in his writing that he formed some close friendships with local people while in Palestine.

I apologise for any offence caused in modern readers.  I knew my father to be a sensitive man, concerned for the feelings of others, and had he known, in later life, that his diaries were to reach a wider audience I know that he, too, would have been troubled by any offence his language would have caused - language that was common parlance among his comrades.



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