The Boy on the Beach

Drowned boy

The Boy on the Beach

He lies like a beached seal, washed up like human driftwood on the unforgiving sand.

He came from a war; fleeing towards peace, chasing freedom, safety and security.

His parents wanted all the things we have

Like a decent education for the children and a job that pays more than a pittance.

But most of all they wanted their children to be safe.

The boy thought he was going to a better place.

How right he was.

 

What has turned the Mediterranean into a graveyard?

A place where the unwanted die as the uncaring look on.

Right wingers beat the nationalist drum and raise panic in their wake.

The threatened become the threat as they mill around trying to reach safety.

When did fleeing persecution become a crime?

 

A policeman carries the boy’s body away

To a peace that he never knew in life.

 

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The Rise of the Far Right.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemoller

I find it extremely disturbing that in the recent European elections the far right have been gaining votes all over Europe. UKIP in Great Britain and The National Front in France are just two parties that have made gains at the expense of almost all the others. It may just be a blip or a protest vote which will change when the General Election comes in Britain next year but as a historian I can’t help thinking that this is how Hitler started. Someone once said that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

If good people give in to apathy then the fanatics win. If you have a vote, use it! Don’t let the fascists triumph! As W.B.Yeats said in the Second Coming, “the best lack all convction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” It is time for good people to be passionate; passionate about protecting our rights, passionate about protecting our freedoms, passionate about helping others to a society that cares about all its members, passionate about seeing that no-one is marginalised or ill-treated because of bigotry.

If we don’t defend the rights of others then who will defend our rights when we most need it?

Yes, I AM a Feminist!

how men see women

I am always amazed when I hear a woman say “I’m not a feminist but…” I cannot understand why any woman would not be a feminist. Being a feminist doesn’t turn you into a dungaree wearing lentil eating lesbian, nor is being a lesbian anything to be ashamed of. But so many women seem frightened of admitting to being a feminist. Why?

To me, being a feminist is about being a man or a woman who believes that no-one should be discriminated against because of their gender. That’s all!

So I would like to say “Yes, I am a feminist and I am proud to be one. I consider it nothing to be ashamed of frightened of. It helps me to embrace my political, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual power and I can’t see anything wrong with that!