today I hate my blog

Today I hate my blog. I think it’s trivial, frivolous and irrelevant, and frankly I’m a bit embarrassed by it.

If you think that’s a bit strong, a bit of an over reaction to some aimiable light hearted waffle about the joys of parenting, here’s why: http://mobile.reuters.com/news/picture/the-struggles-of-migrant-mothers?articleId=USRTS26WW&utm_source=twitter

It’s so easy, when you watch the news about the refugee crisis, to keep yourself separate from the awfulness of it by viewing those involved as somehow “other” than us. Yes, it’s terrible what’s happening but somehow because they have different clothes and speak a different language, and we can’t quite understand what they’re saying when the TV cameras film them jostling at train stations – somehow that allows us to turn the TV off and carry on with our lives without just sitting and crying at how awful it really is.  

But sometimes certain visual images or particular stories can break through the comfortable force field surrounding us.  This series of photos, all of refugee mothers with their children, touched me because I saw myself and my own children in them. Those familiar looks and gestures we all share – the way your arms and back ache carrying the tired child who’s really getting too heavy, but you still do carry them because the way they wrap themselves round you is actually kind of comforting. The way you kneel behind them to brush their hair, and the stooped shoulders you get from always looking down to see where they are. Right now there are mothers trying to make it across the borders of Europe, whose crying babies deprive them of sleep, mothers whose backs ache, who shush and comfort and kiss bruised knees and whisper bedtime stories – just like I do. It’s just they don’t have the bedroom full of toys and the kitchen full of food to fall back on, only a few possessions in a rucksack and the shelter of a railway station.

It’s a huge effort to get my family packed and out of the door for a weekend break. I cannot imagine how horrendous my home would have to be, how dangerous, how utterly intolerable, for me to just leave with my kids and what I could carry, and set off without any idea where I’d be sleeping or getting the next meal from.  If hundreds of thousands of people are all making the same desperate journey then it can only be because staying still is no longer an option. To believe that they’re doing it for the sake of “stealing our benefits” really is to believe that they are “other” than us, less sensible of their own and their children’s safety, less human.

I know there’s not a great deal I can do about events unfolding in other parts of the world,  but nevertheless I do feel a bit shallow when I look at some of my recent blog posts about my trivial little first world problems.  It’s easy to forget, when you’re rushing round every day, that I am incredibly lucky if the worst I have to worry about is my children’s TV habits. So many mothers would love to have a life as safe and comfortable as mine.

I hadn’t yet got round to making a donation or doing anything to support charities working with refugees but I think it’s time I did. I typed “refugee crisis” into Google and these are the top three charities it brought up.  I’m going to research what each of them does and choose one to send a donation to. Will  you do the same? Or if you have donated to another charity who are supporting refugees, who are they and why?

UNHCR:  http://donate.unhcr.org/gbr/europe-crisis?gclid=CjwKEAjwkK6wBRCcoK_tiOT-zFASJAC7RArix510HS5EHUVwzBcUTL8lHBQ2ACtwOy0bjux6cKCoFRoCjV3w_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

Save the Children:http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/about-us/emergencies/child-refugee-crisis-appeal?utm_campaign=refugee&utm_medium=ppc&utm_source=refugeecrisisappealppc&sissr=1

And Unicef:http://www.unicef.org.uk/landing-pages/Syria-crisis-donate/?gclid=CjwKEAjwkK6wBRCcoK_tiOT-zFASJAC7RAriX8AD3Ir_n-B2QtTx7P3cFt5lc6N8DDOY7FqDp1UXjBoCVWDw_wcB&sissr=1

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8 thoughts on “today I hate my blog

  1. Until you highlighted these pictures Kirsty, I too have felt incredibly removed from the plight of the refugees. Indeed, in general I feel like I am terribly removed from any and all current affairs. It’s so easy to be inward-facing and concentrate on your own small world. These photos brought tears to my eyes. As you so rightly say, it is easy to empathize with these women as mothers. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. And for the charity links. I too vow to be more proactive in my support and in my understanding of the current situation.

  2. In realising that these people are human it helps me to remember that they aren’t fleeing poverty – they’re fleeing war. Although their country was a dictatorship beforehand, their everyday lives – home, school, family, shopping, TV, holidays – were very much like our own. They had those first world problems, and then those problems became insignificant in the face of the hell that started five years ago.

    It’s an odd thing to feel, because it’s not like people from poorer countries, with more difficult lives, are any less human than I am. I suppose it demonstrates the limits of my capacity to empathise, or to find common ground with people who are fundamentally different to me. But it also proves that there is more common ground between us and the syrian refugees than most people seem to realise.

    • Hi Catontherooftop, I do remember writing a reply to your comment but just noticed that it hasn’t appeared- guess I forgot to press send or something, sorry about that! I think you’re right despite all the differences of culture, religion and language, the people fleeing Syria are just like us and until recently probably had similar first world type problems to worry about. Just gotta remember how lucky we are I guess.

  3. To quote you: “I saw myself and my own children in them. Those familiar looks and gestures we all share – the way your arms and back ache carrying the tired child who’s really getting too heavy, but you still do carry them because the way they wrap themselves round you is actually kind of comforting.” Empathy is the experience of understanding another person’s condition from their perspective. You place yourself in their situation and feel what they are feeling. Kirst you did just that when you opened your heart and allowed the experience of another mother to enter. “What the world needs now is love sweet love – no not just for some but for everyone”. Thanks for your post.

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