The writer has been watching the refugee crisis and the Calais situation with a similar mix of anger, despair and hope. It seems ever more futile to look to elected governments for ethics or humanity or any interest in the wishes or needs of those they (theoretically) represent…. In this country, the government often appears to have relinquished even lip-service to any expression or enactment of compassion. There is also ample toxicity in the mainstream press, and many who jump on the bandwagon of suspicion, distrust, fear and hate. And yet, and yet…
There are various local initiatives to bring aid to Calais, begun by local people who care – not professional aid workers. We posted a while back a great article by Justine Corrie, a therapist in Somerset who has devoted huge energy and time to this, along with many others. Here’s the link:-
and here’s the link to the Facebook page for Justine’s group:-
The writer has felt conflicted watching this – wanting to get involved, and lacking the time and energy, given her very full-time commitment to running this service. Her comfort is that this service is essentially operating to the same values and is powered in the same way – a not-for-profit run on a shoestring by volunteers (therapists and office staff), who do what they do because they care about their fellow human beings. The people who find their way to our according-to-means service are not living in horrible conditions in a tent no-man’s land, but they do often bring deeply distressing, damaging and traumatic experiences. What we do too, is about responding to and meeting deep, urgent human need.
Like Jonathan, we feel a lot of hope contemplating the Calais efforts, and the countless other diverse initiatives – addressing the many aspects of pain and suffering on (and of) this planet – that are similarly motivated and inspired, and come into being because of the empathy and compassion felt by individual people, and groups of people, for other humans and for all life. Therein lies our hope as a species.
Thank you to Linda Lauruschkus on Facebook for drawing our attention to this.
Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter
Counselling Exeter since 1994