Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Worse things happen in the Mediterranean sea

I was talking to someone the other day who was depressed, and after he'd told me how he felt, he said 'But I have nothing to complain about - there are so many people in the world who have REAL troubles.'

What he said was true, but if you're depressed, counting your blessings doesn't help. It's in this same spirit, however, that although I burned the roof of my mouth 6 days ago and it's made me miserable, I've not yet blogged about it. You know what a wuss I am. You know how I long to be a stoic, but am the least stoical person in my family.

Do you know the film Annie? Do you know that bit when the orphans are singing It's a hard-knock life and Miss Hannegan says 'And we're not having hot mush today' and all the orphans smile and cheer, and then she says 'We're having cold mush'? Well, lukewarm mush is what I've been eating for days and I'm bloody sick of it.

But back to those REAL troubles. I heard the BBC4 programme Ramblings on Sunday and it made me cry. Clare Balding was walking in Surrey with a group of asylum seekers who are former detainees of the Gatwick Removal Centre. Walking with them were a group of volunteers from the Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group. You can listen to it here.

I am fairly well-informed about how the Home Office treats asylum seekers  - yes, it's still a hostile environment - but hearing on radio about one man's horrific and arduous journey from Eritrea to the UK brought it home ten times more powerfully than reading about it in the newspaper. The last part of his journey was from Calais to Dover and he travelled under a truck. It brought to mind the poem HOME by Warsan Shire, of which this is an excerpt:

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten

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