I rang rather than emailed a new contact this morning. She is a university Muslim chaplain and we were discussing possible esol classes for newly-arrived asylum-seekers. She told me how hard it is right now for many of the families she is trying to help, particularly, if they come from Yemen or Syria. Once, she said, she even heard a bomb explode, while on the phone, and the line went dead.
People are losing close family members and friends in the violence. So, if you see someone dressed all in black, it may be they are grieving for someone close to them they’ve lost.
I asked the chaplain, ‘Who is talking about this? I, we…many of us here…don’t realise, we don’t know that this is going on everyday.’ Who is telling this story? And then, I thought, well, I can. Why not? At least, I can pass on what she told me. You can make up your own mind.
If you hit someone, they may hit you back. So, you might hit them harder…so then they hit you back as hard as they can and on it goes.
So, what can I do? I am making time for ‘5 minutes peace’, sitting quietly and upholding the families and friends of everyone, whose lives have been affected by acts of violence in the world today. Where are the peacemakers? How can we all work together for peace in the world? In our street? Maybe, starting simply by saying ‘Hello, morning’ to the moslim friend you pass in the street..?
I recalled an image of my mum, who’s 84 now. She flinched when a plane flew low overhead. I started laughing and asked her why. She told me the noise of the aeroplane reminded her of the Luftwaffe dropping bombs on the docks, near where she lived as a child. ‘And she never liked planes…and we never went to Australia…because of it and that happened in my mum’s lifetime…’, I said.
‘Mine too’, the chaplain said. ‘She tells me stories of what happened during the war too.’