DAY 179: And more…

August 2nd, 2016 § 0 comments

I should begin by listing the positives, butThe_Scream from where I’m sitting right now, it’s a bit hard. I look back on the past year which as far as I can see began with the horrific settler arson attack on the Dawabsheh family – wiping out a family of four.  No one has been effectively punished of this, and no one will be. Justice in Israel, as here, operates on a racist basis.

I was briefly cheered, as many others were, by the size of the great and broadly based march in favour of the rights of refugees on September 12th. refsdemoIf you remember, by an astonishing coincidence, this was the day that Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour party – and then went straight to address the rally in Trafalgar Square in favour of the same refugees. It was, of course, symbolic of a new type of politics – one which has been since then hated and resisted by all of the traditional Labour leadership. I didn’t notice, as I was becoming involved (you can hardly have missed it) in the existence of the Jungle camp at Calais, which I visited for the first time in a large ‘solidarity march’ on September 19th; where 5000 (now near 7000) refugees from many nations-jungle Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, and others do their best to forge a community. Under constant repression from the state – the municipal authorities, the police and the CRS.

I should interpose here the background to all this, so that you can see where I’m coming from. I’ve had a bad health setback – pneumonia seems to have been the basis, with complications. Old age certainly doesn’t help. So here I am in bed meditating and moaning, nursing my knees and taking my drugs, and wishing that my condition was anything other than what it is, and that I could be back sharing the life of activism which I had till recently. The news from the outside world (particularly in the last weird few weeks) has been uniquely discouraging, and the hopes which seemed to flood in from the self-organising activity of refugees at Calais and from our local organisations are more doubtful and weaker. I’d certainly welcome any encouragement from any quarter – which might then feed into my own improved morale, and hence physical well-being, if you believe that. (But why not?) The belief that I could get out there and change anything is pretty deluded, I must admit; but what else do I have to go on?

The physical presence of friends, company, conversation, and the common involvement in efforts to change an intolerably unjust state of affairs, has given me more happiness this last year than for a long time; and even now there’s the pleasure of the memory of teaching at the Jungle school with Leo and; or drinking tea with Isis in Bayan’s tent. And these memories make me the more convinced that I have to find my way (or be helped into a way) out of the slough where I am. I can’t change the world (some hope!); but I may be able to change my attitude to it, which is a beginning. And I count on you, my friends, as always,  to help me with this.

At a key point in the Dardenne brothers’ film ‘Rosetta’ (admittedly not the place to start looking for hope, but it’s what i’ve been watching), Rosetta is talking to herself in bed:

My name is Rosetta

Your name is Rosetta

I won’t fall into the pit

You won’t fall into the pit.

I’m carrying on some such hopeless interior monologue and hoping you’ll reinforce the voice I need, whichever that is.

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