WHERE WILL IT ALL LEAD?

With all that’s been going on, and very publicly, here and abroad, I have been at a loss to know what to think.  If I feel disempowered, how on earth must millions of other people feel.

Those that can, have grouped up and made their feelings known in public places around the world, often at personal cost to themselves. The amount of courage and positive human energy there is to care, is truly amazing.

I am not qualified to speak of what the security services at all levels do, or, what they do not do.  Like most people, I only know what morsels are given for public consumption. I am extraordinarily grateful to have been able to live a life that has been mostly safe and away from major conflicts. There are so many who cannot say this.  Every day we hear heart-rending stories, many of which are streamed into our visual consciousness to our homes. It does make us face the reality of the suffering that has been and is being endured.

With the current ruptures, of a type generally unknown to many of us in our lifetimes, our own comfort blankets are disappearing at speed.  The peace in Europe of the last seventy plus years is politically in the balance and it is also affected by major influences from other continents. There is a serious ramping up of aggressive rhetoric.  Where will it all lead?

 

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SEASONAL TIMES AND SO MUCH COURAGE

We have landed into the start of winter with a bump. I always need body clock catch up time with the seasonal change in clock times. This one should have been easier with the seductive extra hour (they say) in bed at the very beginning of the changeover. Who sleeps longer…I don’t. I don’t believe you’re really meant to. Daylight saving time doesn’t really work for us, as it is our dark time of year.  As we march on toward the Winter Solstice we don’t get much real daylight.  On the other hand, from March we have much more daylight constantly increasing through to the time of the Summer Solstice, by which time, it does not really get totally dark.  Anyway, since our clocks changed this time round, I haven’t stopped yawning.

All the turmoil around the globe vexes me. Some people are living in and on powder kegs, others are forced to flee them. Many do not make it. Those whose courage sustains them, do not have the luxury of gentle thoughts such as mine about seasonal clock times; they just want to stay alive.

THOUGHTS ON THE BRITISH RESPONSE TO THE REFUGEE CRISIS.

Apart from a rumble of disgust at the British Government’s response to the refugee crisis, I have not heard much discussion about the U.K’s sorting criteria for ‘acceptable’ refugees.  Britain is not open to refugees on the move, irrespective of the reasons why.  What we hear, is that any refugees that Britain accepts will have to be in the official camps  They will include the most vulnerable, (whatever that means) and likely, orphan children.  Alarmist voices quickly channeled all the resources arguments against giving refuge to unaccompanied children. The same arguments have been raised in respect of the trickle of ‘acceptable’ refugees over five years that Britain may give refuge too, 4000 per year.  In this instance the Westminster Government response was to offer time-limited assistance in areas where any refugees may be settled.

Funding the needs of extra people is a consideration, it has to be.  While that discussion is being resolved both domestically and internationally, it is worth remembering history shows that  previous waves of refugees who arrived in Britain have and still do substantially contribute to the wealth of this country.

Britain has not been mean with aid on the ground, far from it.  A major slice of basic aid in forming the camps, in particular, in Lebanon, has been given through the generosity of the British people.   But, not all refugees are in camps, there are a large number eking out an existence in  sub-standard conditions in countries like Jordan.  That said, their need to  be fed is no different from the refugees in the other camps.   Like many  in camps, (including camps in Turkey) they are now being forced to move on because the United Nations (U.N) which has been supporting these camps with food aid, has run out of money for food aid for  the refugees. The U.N has been reliant on international financial donations to support vast numbers of people with food.  Starkly put, the refugees, whether in camps or shacks, can no longer be fed.  Their choices for survival – the basic human instinct – are limited to moving on, to attempt to survive.  Life becomes a lottery. In trying to survive many die.

Communities around the U.K have spontaneously been taking practical steps; there have been collections of warm clothing for people stuck at Calais and other ports, who have arrived  at these places wearing their sandals and lightweight clothing, none of which is suitable for surviving Northern European Winters. In Vienna,  clothing donated from many sources  is given to the refugees as they arrive in the city. I expect the same scenario will have been enacted throughout other refugee arrival points, where refugees are being treated  with dignity.  Sad to say, treating the refugees with dignity  is not universal.

I was appalled to hear the rhetoric of Fascism by the Hungarian Government and from other Eastern European States. The Balkan Wars and the Hungarian uprising against Russian suppression  are all still within living memory.  They created refugees who were desperate for help.  Some of my faith in humanity was restored when I saw and heard the reports of the Hungarian people individually helping refugees, irrespective of their Government’s distasteful stance.

The UK has no need to swell its population with young and intelligent people from elsewhere to support an ageing population as much as some of our neighbour countries do, (like France and Germany, for example).   So, to minimise our responsibility to what the world has now accepted is a true refugee crisis, (as opposed to economic migrants) from Africa and the Middle East,  this is what the British Government says it is going to do over five years.  Britain will consider taking  a total of 20,000 ‘acceptable’ Refugees, (4000 per year) who are in official refugee camps.  Perhaps, from those selected  there will be orphan children.  You are definitely not going to be offered refuge in the U.K if you are a refugee with the many thousands on the move,  who are  risking life and limb to survive.