As usual I watched the Channel 4 News this Friday evening.
Amidst the nightly litany of political bickering and self aggrandisement there was utterly unadulterated horror. On the borders of the richest continent in the world the people of the small Greek Island of Lesbos were pulling children’s bodies from small wooden boats. It does not matter if they were Syrian or not, legal or illegal, refugees or economic migrants these are human beings and deserve better than this.
Europe is rich, obscenely so in some eyes, yet our Government refuses to acknowledge these people’s right to life. We pat ourselves on the back saying the government will help. It’ll be fine. It’s away over there. But it is not enough nothing may ever be enough. We’ll help say the government, but where is the evidence? Stevie Smith’s poem sums it up;
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
And here we are distanced, protected; seeing things through a TV screen which anaesthetises our senses, blunts our outrage that in this continent once the cradle of civilisation such horror can persist.
Smile and wave, smile and wave – the politicians in the cavalcade, worry not little Britons for you are saved. They won’t be coming here. But still in the Mediterranean as I type there are children out there not waving but drowning.
And our leaders like Richard the III secretly say;
Why, I can smile and murder whiles I smile,
And cry ‘content’ to that which grieves my heart,
And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,
And frame my face for all occasions.
The chameleon faced, gargoyle, grinning grotesques that purport to be our chosen representatives in the big wide world care more for a sick puppy than for these poor wretches.
I don’t profess to have a solution or to be privy to some greater insight, but surely we can do better?
“Rage Rage against the dying of the light.”