Inspire Me Monday: March 26 – Don’t bury your heart under media dirt…
This week I have been inspired by an amazing book called The Other Hand by Chris Cleave. I am often greatly angered by the attitude towards refugees in the United Kingdom. I passionately believe that the media plays a huge role in the gradual but determined erosion of our sympathies and understanding.
Yes, I believe in the media’s right to free speech – but simply saying things ‘because they can’, regardless of the consequences is frightening.
A couple of years ago I attended a course designed to raise awareness about the plight of asylum seekers and refugees. Oh my eyes were opened. It has stayed with me and stayed with me. Our system here in the UK is so flawed. I feel like all people see is the negative side of offering asylum – and extreme stories like the one above detract people’s thoughts from what people are fleeing and why. From the horror and tragedy of having to leave your life and loved ones behind. From how it must feel to suddenly become one of ‘those’ people and be slammed in the media every day.
So I was inspired to read The Other Hand, which is funny, tragic, moving and remarkable. It tells the desperately tragic story of a young girl from Nigeria, whose village is destroyed and whose family is murdered and two holidaymakers who encounter the girl. It gives the concept of asylum seeking a human face. And it portrays our system as utterly flawed, our approach to people who genuinely need help as almost inhumane in some ways but just apathetic in others.
This is such a beautifully well-written book, I recommend it to anyone. It moved me to laughter and it moved me to tears – above all, it was a stark reminder of why I care about these issues and why I will continue to tell people LOOK BEYOND THE NEWSPAPERS. Look to your own humanity. Look to your own heart.