on Children in Need!!!

How in whatever world you live in is it ever ok to leave over a thousand children and young people all alone on a chemical waste site with empty containers to live in??  Then, just to make it more difficult, you turn off the drinking water and start bulldozing all around them.  To add to the torture tease them with talk of buses that never arrive, or of a new start with relatives that love them, and then never follow it up.  Then to rely on ordinary people, grassroots organisations to feed them and keep them as safe as they can.  Then make that more difficult for those trying to help by restricting their access to the children and leave a few armed police around to guard them.

I cannot say just how angry I am feeling about this.  It is a national and international disgrace.

Imagine just one of the young people you love being treated in this way.  Imagine they have seen their family and friends killed, drowned in the sea, as they survived travelling for hundreds of miles, in flip flops, walking, carrying all they own. Imagine your nephew being targeted by gangs, being beaten by truncheons, falling from the top of a lorry while trying to get to you, his family, in the only way available to him.  Imagine then him being left behind, on a chemical dump. Imagine that.  Your sister’s son, your brother’s boy, left behind alone.  How would you be with that?

You see these are not statistics, they are not faceless numbers, they are real people, with real lives and people who love them.

So, to all those people who think it is not your business, who suspect that they are not quite what they seem, who believe the racist rhetoric in the media, wake up and see what is happening in front of your eyes.

Or don’t.  It is your choice.  Keep believing you are making Britain great again.  Keep spouting the same old stuff about job robbers and terrorists.  Go on, you do that.  Heaven forbid that you may actually show some compassion, you might actually want to save the children.  Keep writing on your social media about checking dental records, just in case we accidentally help someone who is slightly older than eighteen years.

This month you may go off and sit in a bath of beans for the BBC, a nice safe British charity, raise money for people like,  you, go on you do that, I am sure you feel great doing your bit.  You know the one, marketed as  ‘your BBC’, while constantly broadcasting just the one agenda.   Meanwhile a few miles from blissful Britain, children are left, abandoned and you don’t care.

Why is it you don’t care I wonder?  Is it because they have different skin colouring to you?  Because they may chose a different God to worship than you do?  Maybe it is because you think they should have stayed and fought a war they could never win, albeit one your government created and finances to this day.  It must be a lovely space in your world, where you are right and there is no harm done.

I will never ever understand this.  I don’t know why my MP hasn’t even replied to my email.  I don’t know why we are not all out on the streets demanding action.  Maybe my take on the world is the wrong one.  Maybe I should content myself with supporting Children in Need while just ignoring those who actually are.

on children all alone

as I write this in my warm, safe kitchen, I have watched children making their way to school.  It is a chilly morning today, most are wrapped up in warm coats, strong school shoes protecting their feet as they walk over the muddy playing field. A day of education awaits them.  Playtime with friends and a warm meal at lunchtime.  Maybe a story or some art before parents call to collect them and bring them home.  These children are at junior school, most are between 7 and eleven years of age.  They have backpacks with books, PE equipment and a hand to hold to keep them safe.

A year ago I would not have thought twice about these children.  In my sheltered world, children were always protected, kept safe and looked after by adults who love them.  I wouldn’t have noticed the nice strong shoes, the backpacks and the rosy cheeks in the Autumn chill of morning.

A year ago I knew nothing.  Nothing of the children, exactly the same as the children I watched this morning, who are living in refugee camps. I had no idea just how many small people are struggling to live any sort of life, alone.

Now it is one thing to consider death, war, famine all the usual tragedies of life, when they are on the other side of the world.  The connection is not strong.  The news is short, scenes of people struggling hovers somewhere between sadness and the feeling it really isn’t our problem.  Now in 2016 this is no longer acceptable.

I visited Northern France and the Calais camp.  I saw for myself the conditions in which people are trying to live a life well. It is this that is keeping me awake at night.  For all our hopes and dreams for them, the children living there are children who are alone.

The youngest on the census in Calais is eight years old.  My eyes again are drawn to the field opposite and the playground, there, later today will be eight year olds, and nine year olds, and children of all ages, playing safe and well.  Imagine for a minute that just one of those children was living alone in a tent, perhaps with adults they don’t know.  Imagine the little girl with the pink backpack is sleeping on cardboard, surrounded by people who don’t speak her language.  Imagine the boy who plays for the school team has no shelter and is spending the nights in the rain under tarpaulin. What we we do?

I suspect there would be police, social workers, teachers and the support of local people offering help.  I think that the children would be removed from the shelters, the tent and the tarpaulin and given foster homes, warm and safe, with people who will look after them.  I expect the papers would be full of outrage and people would talk about it everywhere you went.  The children alone in Calais do not seem to attract such sympathy and action.

So, when you see on the news the faces of these children what will you do?  Will you look the other way,  will you shrug your shoulders at the news report and say it’s not our problem?  Our country is full, we have no space.  Or will you be the person who cares?

It is that simple, it is our choice, we need to take care of children everywhere.  While one little girl is sleeping alone in the cold, I cannot rest.  Join me, write to those with power, sign petitions and rise to the challenge.

This is the holocaust of our generation.  Don’t be the person, who in twenty years time is asked by your grandchildren, what did you do in 2016 Mum? and you have to answer nothing, I did nothing. Perhaps you will argue you didn’t know, but we know that you do know, and you have a choice.

Wake up and do something.  Now.  Today.  These children need us all.  #DubsNow