The bigger picture

Some peoples’ spirit, their will to never give up, despite such obvious adversity, never ceases to amaze me.

A few days ago I watched a documentary (one of a series on SBS called “As It Happened”) about refugees fleeing Afghanistan, Nigeria, Conga, and their journey to reach Europe. All hold close to them the belief that European countries, particularly Britain, will bring them security, a good life, work, the opportunity to study (the fact they would be illegal immigrants overlooked.)

One family from Afghanistan, with three kids under five, was sleeping on the streets in Athens, relying on a charity to feed them once a day.

A single mother from Conga with two young children made it to Morocco, but still wants to reach Britain one day. She was allowed to cross borders only once the guards had raped her. In one instance, her four year old daughter was watching. Despite the obvious pain the memories bring her, despite being treated so cruelly and unfairly, she doesn’t give up hope for a better life.

Many refugees try to ride on the axles of trucks destined for Italy or Spain. Hanging on underneath the trucks, inches from the road.

Can you imagine?

I am in awe of people like these and their intense determination despite so much adversity. Their desperation makes me cry. I cannot begin to comprehend the emotions they must have to live with.

And then I see people here. Living in first world conditions, with every option and opportunity available to them, who want to change things about their lives, but do nothing – because it’s too hard, or it’s not the right time, or for whatever reason, feel it’s impossible…or worse, feel it’s someone else’s fault.

Whilst I don’t pretend to understand the barriers that some people feel they have, sometimes I think many of us – including myself, at times – don’t stop to look at the bigger picture, the multitude of advantages we have at our disposal. The freedom to explore so many avenues – to shape our lives the way we want them.

Instead, we sometimes choose to bitch and moan and whinge about our problems. Make any number of excuses for our behaviour and our shortcomings.

Sometimes, I think we really need to get our shit in perspective. Don’t you?

Alison x


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