Empathy is a choice

Having moved to the UK only recently, I still don’t know which newspapers represent which opinions, and yesterday, I bought the Daily Express because of their headline “We can’t stop the migrants” (or something close). My husband thought this negative, I thought it was probably true – when people are dying or starving, they won’t stop, we’ve seen it many times in history.

Then I read the article, only to realize that the only opinion they quoted was that of Ukip, the party pushing for the UK to leave the EU, saying that the UK had no moral responsibility to take refugees. They had to stop or it would cause massive unemployment (millions it said). Angry that the EU refused to push the boats back at sea. …What?!

Another article pushed further the opinion of Ukip onto readers. Then another. Ok I get it.

Then, not far from the end of the newspaper, was an article about heroes: two sisters who saved hundreds of Jews in Berlin during WWII. They were heroes it said, they saved hundreds of lives, so many families who would have died otherwise, when others didn’t care!

I finally stopped reading and had to get the fumes out with my husband. How could they not see? How can a newspaper and a country so bent on charity and attention to individuals not see that it is not so different? Yes the time is different, the situation, the number of people, the war, the religion too. But we’re talking about lives, people dying in awful circumstances!

How can they not see??

I am really very afraid that some of them actually do see and just do not care. Like someone I know playing with millions in London. He’s making money, nothing wrong with that… So many times I heard people acknowledge someone else’s pain and then switch on to something else, pass by, or even make it worse because they can. I’m losing faith in people.

And then… Last week I brought a few women’s clothes to a shelter. Nothing grand about it, they needed bras, seriously, who cannot spare a few? I remember how the people there were really nice, giving classes, smiling at everyone, helping out. How the small donation bins were almost full. How the people who needed the help looked really sad, whatever their age. A man of about 40 and a young man of maybe 18-20 entered the shelter while I was there, probably for a class, and they just looked down. They didn’t want to be there. I wouldn’t. I cannot imagine what it is to be needing charity. What some of these people might have gone through to get there. Empathy is a choice this author said, yes, and compassion too.

Compassion_Jen_Waller
Source: Jen Waller, flickr
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No news, good news

Well, it’s been a while. Busy, busy, looking for a school for our son, looking for a house in the village of the school we choose, looking for a playgroup in that same village so that he can make friends and hopefully keep them when he goes to school, thinking about the future, finishing the left-overs from Amsterdam – my PhD, blahhhhh – and working on my crochet projects…

All the while my son grows up, his vocabulary and his understanding explodes (it is so amazing to see) and he starts to tell us more clearly what he wants. Winter slowly leaves and as the weather gets better we go out and enjoy Wales’ absolutely amazing nature, and plan for camping trips.

That’s it really, it keeps me busy 🙂

Scones
Homemade scones
20160313_135905-EFFECTS
Park in South Wales