Sunday, 18 June 2017

Post for those who think Britain is the centre of the world.

I can’t bear to write about Grenfell Tower. Besides, I don't believe anything I wrote could approach the horror that so many families are living through. 

Behind that tragedy, the political shenanigans continue - both here in the U.K. and across the Atlantic in America. And there is a risk, with all the media attention on the comings and goings, that we believe we are the most important people in the world.

Meanwhile, riots continue in Venezuela. The country has one of the richest oil fields in the world, and still people are starving. The western press, at last, are following the riots - but will we ever really know how many people have died there?

Mugabe is still in power in Zimbabwe. It is a beautiful country with brave, resourceful people - who are still living from hand to mouth … if they are lucky. There is no freedom of speech - so can we ever really know how many people are dying of hunger?

Some years ago I went to Laos. It is the most bombed country in the world - there are more unexploded bombs there than people. They can be anywhere: beside the road, behind the villages, in school playgrounds. How do people carry on living with that?

Refugees still flee from Syria and conflicts in Africa. The lucky few are made welcome in new countries. Some find themselves in camps, waiting for some nameless authority to make decisions about them, as if they are no more significant than luggage. Many are wandering and frightened and alone. Nobody chooses to live like that.

As many of you know, I was in Malawi in the winter. It's the first country I've visited which left me pessimistic about the depth of the poverty and the lack of co-ordinated efforts to address it. Over eighty per cent of the population is deemed to be in need. My efforts to highlight the plight of Malawians will soon be published.


While we're busy (and we need to be busy making sure our politicians are accountable) people across the world are suffering. One of the things I've learned from my travels is that we all need the same things: enough to eat, somewhere safe to sleep, and to love and be loved. Surely those of us who can take that for granted can find the energy to think about men and women all over the world, from Grenfell Tower to Caracas to Lilongwe, who wake without knowing when they might eat again.

9 comments:

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    1. It is ... which is why we need to talk about it. It doesn't have to be like this.

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  2. I couldn't agree with you more. If only more people were willing to look at the bigger picture and have empathy for those who don't have their basic needs being met.

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    1. Thank you. I think we all need a nudge to look outside our own backyards sometimes.

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  3. Jo, yes, yes and yes again. Whenever the world focuses on the latest outrage (as indeed they must), I cannot help but think of Zimbabwe, a country I personally know that has been living with ongoing outrage for decades. I also have students from many parts of the world who remind me of the suffering in their countries, the only reason we don't know about it being that it is no longer new news and gets relegated to the yesterday's or last century pile. I am looking forward to reading your account of Malawi. I'm sure it will strike a few chords with me.

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    1. Malawi isn't far away - so to speak!

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  4. Yes indeed...we are a very small island and yet we think we are the centre of the world! There are so many conflict zones, people suffering, especially children and women, and MANY of the problems can be tracked back to the actions of the US/UK government! How ignorant and arrogant we are!! A timely reminder here...

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    1. Ignorant and arrogant - exactly! I refrained from using those words, so I'm glad you haven't!

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  5. At the end of the day we all need the same basic needs, like you have said. The world is in suffering-some have it worse than others no doubt.

    I applaud the work that you do, and would love to read anything you publish surrounding your travel and research. More power to you, and warm greetings!

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