“Run along now.”
Bulging with a mass of bleached-white shells, the sea heaves and spews forth such a swarm of crinkled forms as clack together, overlapping and coming to rest.
These teeming bones are trodden into sand. Huddled, then compacted: the oil of eons hence.
“Run along now,
While I rest here in the tide.”
Emma Lazarus’s inspirational poem, ‘The New Colossus’ can be found here. I’ve deliberately made reference to and borrowed words from her poem, hopefully to contrast the spirits of both times. I hope we can invoke once more something of the spirit of ‘the Mother of Exiles’ and provide a light by which those in need might find their way to us.
Let’s not accept any more rhetoric of ‘England is full’ while 22,000 houses lie empty in London. Let’s not accept any more rhetoric of ‘there is not enough to go around’ when I know that, whilst not in any way wealthy, I had enough spare money in my bank account to save that child’s life. Let’s not accept the argument that ‘it is not so simple’ as an excuse for retrenchment and a retreat from vital contact with our neighbours. The things that I own are not my life, they are a means through which I might become more alive and (crucially) more human.
A petition to ask the UK government to debate the increase of support for asylum seekers can be found here. As I type, it currently has 326,545 signatures (it requires over 100,000 to trigger a debate in Parliament). In the last hour, it has been signed by 1,203 people.
If you wish, in addition you can email the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom here.
Save The Children is running the Child Refugee Crisis Appeal. You can make a donation directly here. Save The Children are working in reception centres in Italy and refugee camps in Greece. Their work is having a direct and positive impact on the lives of children in dire need.
In 1972, the philosopher, Peter Singer in formulating his theory of effective altruism wrote this:
“…if I am walking past a shallow pond and see a child drowning in it, I ought to wade in and pull the child out. This will mean getting my clothes muddy, but this is insignificant, while the death of the child would presumably be a very bad thing.”
It’s already time to get our clothes muddy.