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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Shoebox

He opened the shoebox.

There were three envelopes in it.

He opened the first envelope and took out the piece of paper that was inside. On it, he'd written: “An elephant.”

He didn't think dates were important so he never put dates on any of the notes that went into the shoebox. If he put dates on the notes, wouldn't that make the shoebox, a journal?

He liked to think the shoebox was an incubator for ideas. So, maybe the shoebox was a journal of sorts. A place he could throw different things together without being too self-conscious about what went in, a place where he could mix things up and see how they grouped themselves together.

He liked the thought of ideas as things that are capable of making their own, independent associations.

He opened the second envelope. In it was a piece of paper with the number 3 on it.

He remembered when the first and second notes were written.

He took out the third envelope. On the note inside was a question. The question made him wince.

He put the notes back in the envelopes and he put the envelopes back in the shoebox.

He closed the shoebox.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

UK is two-faced over Syrian war

UKIP leader Nigel Farage, of all people, has called on Britain to honour the spirit of the 1951 Refugee Convention and accept Syrian refugees and accord them protection.

David Cameron and his Government have rejected these calls and Farage (as is to be expected) has since gone on to muddy the waters by suggesting that Britain should only afford protection to Syrian Christians who are fleeing the conflict.

I am aware that, were it not for the fact that – for the first time in a very long time – members of parliament in Britain actually listened to their constituents and roundly rejected and defeated Cameron's plans to unleash the British military arsenal on Syria, British troops would be causing more death and destruction in Syria right now.

It is shameful that Britain should be this two-faced.

On the one hand, as evidenced by the intensity with which Cameron and William Hague were beating the war drums, Britain appears to have no qualms about adding to the carnage in Syria.

And yet, on the other hand, the Government is extremely reluctant and unwilling to give refuge to those Syrians who are fleeing the guns, the violence, the death and the destruction that has plagued their country from the time the conflict started until now.

Cameron and his Government need to look again at how they are conducting themselves in relation to the Syrian conflict and the refugees that the conflict is producing.

The Government needs to do more to support those countries that are sheltering and protecting the most Syrian refugees.

It also needs to give refugee status to more Syrian nationals who have managed to reach Britain and who have submitted asylum applications.

Anything less is immoral, totally unacceptable and wrong.

*This article first appeared in the Leicester Mercury's letters page on 4 january 2014.