Justin Welby, Archbishop Of Canterbury, appears to be a more publicly outspoken priest for the oppressed masses than his recent predecessors seemed to be. I do not want to be a spoiler, but, I do wonder just what affects his words would have, uttered as they are, in these isles, far, far, away from the awful trouble spots that are exercising many of us. He rightly points out that the focus of destruction is not just on Christian communities, though, it is those which have come into our focus because the Christian religious group has appeared to be singled out for now, and has been suffering dreadfully. The Archbishop described the dead as Christian Martyrs. Justin Welby’s summary of the politics is interesting, as is his choice of language.

The Middle East is complex, it is a melting pot for which no single answer will do. As if to illustrate this. I heard the following report.

A report on BBC radio this morning highlighted the plight and fortitude of the Syrian refugee children, who, from the age of 4 years old, are taken by open lorries to work on farms, harvesting whatever is in the fields. Their work is unprotected and supervised by an overseer. Supervision consists of threatening to dock earnings if they do not fulfill their quotas of work. I do not know who sets those. When the children return to the camps they are given some schooling. The refugee community want their children to have some education, not to be totally disadvantaged and lost. It speaks volumes.



  1. It’s only a couple of hundred years ago when child labour was commonplace in this country. Not only in the fields but the mills and factories too. It was only the introduction of automation in industry, and the combined-harvester and baler in the fields that made it redundant. Maybe we should be sending them harvesting equipment and other machinery, rather than silly words and moral threats.

  2. Hi Munzly,

    All sorts of things are needed for the refugees and the children in the camps. A Syrian farmer came up with idea to have children working. I am not in a position to comment further, other than with what I have written. I am aware that UNICEF are looking at the work, along with all the other major requirements the people have. UNICEF is also fund raising to continue and improve their support work with the children.

  3. I’m not aware of Justin’s latest pronouncement, but I am aware that he was urging caution a couple of months ago in a situation of great complexity and delicacy

    I’m glad UNICEF is keeping an eye on the children, and it doesn’t surprise me that their parents want them to have education – although what their energy levels will be like, after hours working in the heat in the fields, is anybody’s guess.

  4. Laudable as his comments on the Middle East may be….one wonders whether the ‘christian martyrs’ prompted his obeservations….Hopefully not…as it is…a great pity -understandable though it may be – that he has to use such unfortunate language….:roll:

  5. I heard a fair bit from Welby on the radio in recent times. If you catch up with Radio 4 of today’s date, you will be able to hear his latest words.

    UNICEF, if nothing else, must help the children, proactively. Easyjet is collecting all loose change – any currency – on their flights, for UNICEF children’s fund. I have also heard appeals in various media discussions.

    Occupation with contribution, for the children, could be a positive activity, if not abused. I do not know how long the children have to work. The weather is changing, journeys to work will be very chilly, and any future outdoor work will be cold. In the first instance, have question marks in my mind about the very young age of some of the children said to be involved in the activity. Like you, I thought about their ability to benefit from the elements of education on offer, when they are not at their best, within the circumstances they and their friends and families find themselves in.

  6. Hi Bushka,

    The language does make you think. Martyrdom in this period has just about been hijacked to be religion specific for one faith group. It could be argued that Welby is wresting martyrdom away from their exclusivity, broadening out, if you like, its inclusion into the lives and deaths of different peoples… …using language certain others should be able to understand.

    It is a very definite change in tone.

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