Thursday, January 28, 2016

Alittle bit of unexpected cheer

I am watching with fear as the world, which often seems never to learn from its past, hovers yet again on the brink of another financial precipice, with the rich making sure that they get richer whilst the poor only get poorer.  And I can hardly bear to look at a newspaper or listen to the news because everywhere I see the desperate faces of asylum seekers risking their lives, and often losing those lives, in an attempt to escape the horrors of wars.  I can understand what being a refugee is like, although at one remove, for half my family, my mother’s half, was Austrian Jewish and many of them were forced to flee to this country before the second World War, most escaping the concentration camps only because my English father could vouch for them.

And then I think of all those rich and influential people sitting around behind police barricades in five-star hotels in Davos, flying in and out in their private planes, to discuss from a distance what to do about the poverty in the world.  And the gap between their world and the world outside seems to grow ever wider.

It is sometimes too much for me, and I have to take refuge in reading all kinds of escapist literature, my favourite being detective stories, where good always triumphs.  I am particularly fond of the gentle old-fashioned English country village kind, which takes me back to the nostalgia of a simpler life, with echoes of my own childhood.

I am cheered, though, by hearing that at last this country will be doing something about the hordes of unaccompanied children who live in appalling conditions just a few miles over there in the camps in Calais, a prey to child traffickers.  It seems as though one or more thousand will be allowed in.  And high time too!


There is a happy postscript to the blog above which I have just read in today's Guardian newspaper:  "Teachers flood Dunkirk school for refugees with aid offers".

This is a heartening story of the school a teacher and friends have set up in the mud of a refugee camp in Dunkirk, of the success they are having in teaching the refugee children, and of the many other teachers volunteering to cross the Channel to offer their help.  Hoorah, hoorah!

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