Thought for today:
"There has been a surfeit of press and media reports over the past year that often makes Great Britain out to be a less compassionate country than we ought to be; especially when it comes to the plight of migrants and the totality of our national response to the crisis at hand. While our country's response may satisfy some and not others, there will always be some people from both sides of the discussion who will disagree with the other side's viewpoint. Some will genuinely feel that we have not done enough while others will believe that we have done more than our fair share. I do not know the answer to this human tragedy which has mushroomed across the continents of the world and which have resulted in this mass exodus of human travellers; nor do I suspect, does anyone else, whatever their political persuasion.
What I do know is that any tragedy hits hardest when it occurs nearer one's home and doorstep. Just as having a loved one die of some illness can lead the bereaved family to spend the remainder of their life raising funds or financially contributing to a cure for that illness in preference to other illnesses, then so the death of little children nearer home will have a greater emotional impact upon the hearts and purse strings of the indigenous population than the death of little children from other parts of the world!
Take three incidents; the Aberfan disaster that was caused by the collapse of a colliery spoil tip in the Welsh village near Merthyr Tydfil in October 1966, that killed 116 children and 28 adults, or a greater number of innocent children and adults who have been killed as a result of our country's action. For instance, Tony Blair's and George Bush's illegal war in Iraq and the ongoing hostilities between 2003 and 2010 resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, including helpless children, just as the war waged jointly by the Russians and the Syrian Government today within the Syrian borders have killed thousands of innocent children and their families indiscriminately!
One can also consider the many thousands of deaths of travelling migrants and their families across treacherous seas in overcrowded vessels during the past year and the inactivity of many countries to adequately provide a united and humane response to this tragic situation.
As a writer and historian, I know that when it comes to choosing which one to help, above all other considerations, the saving of an animal, whether wild or domestic, has a greater emotional pull on the heart and purse strings of the British public than the saving of a human life. I also know that one of the reasons this is so, is because animals are rarely responsible for the plight they find themselves in, whereas often, many humans are judged to be.
But, what about children, from whichever part of the globe they hail from? Do these innocents bear any responsibility for what their parents and governments chose to do or the war-torn environments they are born into? Do any of the children who are not yet old enough to walk bear responsibility of where their parents carry them? I think not!
I will never forget an incident I witnessed when I was eight years old. The year was 1951, and as was the common practice at the time in working class circles, after a cat had given birth to a large litter of unwanted kittens, the kittens were placed in a tied sack and drown in a local river.
It fell to the son of a neighbour friend of mine, to carry out this dastardly deed after his father had bagged the kittens up for death by drowning. The young boy who was one year older than me and called Johnie asked me to accompany him to the river on this task. Johnie knew that he would be for it if he did not return with an empty sack, so after some discussion between the two of us, we found an old, disused barn and let the kittens out of the sack. We planned to return daily for the next week to feed the kittens (not realising that they would need milk instead of solids), but when we returned to the barn the following day, the kittens had gone. God only knows what had happened to them, but whatever did happen, I know that Johnie and I felt better because we'd tried.We were also enabled to put the matter from the immediacy of our thoughts because the kittens were no longer there.
It seemed to us at the time that we had bought the kittens an extra day of life at least, yet we cannot know what kind of day that turned out to be for the kittens. For all we knew, a wild fox may have discovered the litter we left in the barn, killed them and either buried them or ate them, as foxes have been known to do, or perhaps some benevolent human entered the barn, saw the little mites and found them all good homes!
I believe that when all of the water has been drained from the cooking pot of life, that all any person can ever do is to try to help in the best way they think they can to preserve all form of life. There are many kinds of death, whether one is a puppy, a litter of kittens or a child, and I am sure that drowning is not the most humane!" William Forde: November 25th, 2016.