DAY 166: Europe

May 2nd, 2016 § 0 comments

I was at this meeting this evening – yes, I must really be back in that form of ‘reality’ which is called London – and a friend claimed that I ran (wrote?) a blog. This was decent of her, since I haven’t posted for weeks really I think. Whatever, it prompted me to feeling that I should make some more serious effort.

To fill in: I got back. (The immigration officials at Ben Gurion, who give you a hard time if you’re in shorts with a backpack, wave you through if you’re in a wheelchair. Should I feel insulted that I’m not seen as a threat?) I’m in London; getting a stream of photos and affectionate messages from Nablus students; while none of my London friends will answer the phone. Poor me.

But reality is always more complex. About half my friends seemed to have dissertations to finish, or were otherwise preoccupied. Eventually we make contact and meet up; I find that the increasingly appalling Tory Government is refusing to accept 3000 Screen_Shot_2016-02-22_at_23.36.57child refugees from Europe. Alf Dubs, who proposed the amendment which would allow them to be admitted, had this to say:

Since this House last discussed this amendment, I have been astonished at the amount of popular support there has been for it. I would not normally think that an issue to do with refugees and migrants would command such support. I cannot cope with the emails coming in from people I have never met or heard of who are saying that we should continue with this because it is the right policy. The British people are rising to the need for a humanitarian response. It is fine that we are doing good things in the region, but British people see that there is a problem for children exposed and vulnerable in various parts of Europe. They are not all safe. They may be in an EU country, but many of them are in dangerous circumstances. The fact that many have disappeared altogether is an indication of how alarming the position is.
I will not disguise the fact that last night’s outcome was disappointing. I felt very upset watching the result of the vote being announced in the Commons. The Government’s main argument seems to be that if we do anything for the children in Europe it will be a magnet for further ones to come. That was the thrust of the noble Earl’s comments just now. Yesterday afternoon, on the green outside, I was talking to a young 16 year-old Syrian man who had come here. We asked him about his family. He said they were all dead. He is not being lured by the attraction of an amendment passed here. He does not see it as a magnet. He came to save his life and get out of the most dreadful situation. He spent many months travelling to Calais before he got to Britain. He has a relative in Britain, so he should have been dealt with a long time ago. He had been in a desperate situation.’

So: the Dubs amendment was lost, by 294 votes to 276. It’s being reframed, and will be voted on again; and a number of Tory MPs are said to be unhappy, and considering switching. So pile on the pressure! A little maths will show you that only ten of those Tories need to switch for the amendment to pass.Screen shot 2016-05-02 at 22.48.10And then… What a pitiful number we are talking about, in comparison with the number of refugees lonely, lost and desperate across Europe. Whose responsibility are they? An entire continent -or rather, its leaders – would seem to have lost its moral sense altogether. As Dubs pointed out in the speech I quoted, the ‘ordinary’ people seem to be more prepared to accept the tiny number of lone children that his proposal calls for.

At the Movies

The blog, having nothing better to do, went to a film called ‘Eye in the Sky’, with Helen Mirren and the late Alan Rickman. Both in combat fatigues, and responsible for the dispatch of Hellfire MV5BMTUyNDYxNDI0Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTMxMTgyNzE@._V1_UX100_CR0,0,100,100_AL_missiles from drones over Kenya to annihilate evil al-Shabab militants. But damn! Just at that precise moment, a sweet little Somali girl sets up her table to sell bread in the precise place where there is a 65% chance that she’ll be wiped out as ‘collateral damage’. The feeble politicians keep referring the decision higher up the chain of command, Rickman and Mirren insist that the ROE (rules of engagement to you) put them in the clear as the evil al-Shabab would kill many more than one teenage bread-seller.

You can see how wicked and corrupt this film is going to turn out even without my spoiling the plot for you (the girl escapes). I’m sorry that Alan Rickman, who I admire in general, had this to his name as his last film.

Poetry Corner

I usually have to struggle over this one. So many thanks to Amro Jamous, one of an-Najah U’s bright stars, for supplying this:

Alice Walker ‘I will keep Broken Things’ (Don’t ask what’s that got to do with it)

I will keep
Broken
Things:
The big clay
Pot
With raised
Iguanas
Chasing
Their
Tails;
Two
Of their
Wise

Heads
Sheared
Off;

I will keep
Broken
things:
The old
Slave
Market
Basket
Brought
To my
Door

By Mississippi
A jagged
Hole
Gouged
In its sturdy
Dark
Oak
Side.

I will keep
Broken
things:
The memory
Of
Those
Long
Delicious
Nig ht
Swims
With
You;

I will keep
Broken
things:
In my house
There
Remains
An

Honored
Shelf
On which
I will
Keep
Broken
Things.

Their beauty
Is
They
Need
Not
Ever
Be
‘fixed.’

I will keep
Your
Wild
Free
Laughter
Thoug h
It is now
Missing
Its
Reassuring
And
Gra ceful
Hinge.

I will keep
Broken
Things:

Thank you
So much!

I will keep
Broken
Things.

I will keep
You:

Pilgrim
Of
Sorrow.
I will keep
Myself

Music

Keeping on the theme of my Nablus period: in a musical interlude I produced a rendering of Bob Marley’s ‘Redemption Song’

(you’ll be glad to know the link is to Marley’s version, not mine). What a rich period it was! A student asked me what was my favourite novel? When did anyone in England ask me that?

 

 

Leave a Reply