Tuesday, 6 October 2015
Thursday, 10 September 2015
It is no secret that the Irish government are corrupt; that funding for healthcare, education, social housing and public services needs to be improved drastically. I completely agree that the Irish government have failed in their obligations to the common people. People are homeless where there is more than enough housing available. People are dying when there is no need. Situations are being created which are entirely unnecessary and could be avoided. All because there are TD's out there who would rather ignore the problems their people are faced with every day than help and find solutions. Should we do the same? As citizens of the world, should we turn our heads and dismiss the crises going on in the world as 'someone else's problem'? We (and our government) don't just have a social obligation here in this country, we have a global social obligation too.
It is easy to tar everyone with the same brush. However, the fact is, more crimes have been committed in the name of Christianity than any other religion. This includes Islam. This is easily forgotten about though. While I am not at all naive enough to think that there aren't refugees out there who ally themselves with ISIS or similar terrorist/fundamental religious organisations, I do think it is unfair to generalise with this assumption. In the same way, but of course to a lesser and more trivial extent, the Irish hate the generalisation and stereotype forced upon them that they are all heavily drinking, ginger leprechauns.
I'm also not stupid enough to think that there aren't people who are profitting from this situation. The smugglers who are charging these poor people thousands of euro to transport them on dangerously overcrowded, unsafe dinghy's. Migrants who are using these methods to enter countries when they are safe in their own. That's another argument for another time. The plain fact is, that the vast majority of these displaced people are just searching for safety. They didn't ask for this and sometimes, that's easy to forget. Civilians are just that. They aren't soldiers or politicians. They're just normal people like we are, who have been forced to leave their lives behind and try and find a new life somewhere else.
You were born here in Ireland by chance. You didn't choose it. You're just lucky. While we work hard for what we have, we have a better place to start than a lot of people in the world. You would think that with Ireland's own turbulent history of conflict and unneccessary heartbreak, this nation would be more sympathetic to these people's problems. While Irish people have had to endure difficulties of their own, oftentimes in the name of religion, they have not had to flee devastating war, natural disaster or famine. That is except from between 1845 and 1855, when 2.1 million Irish REFUGEES had to do just that. Would you have had the USA,Canada etc. turn those Irish people away then, because the famine 'wasn't their problem?'
Many of my friends are parents. I know for a fact that if we ever found ourselves in the same situation that these people are finding themselves in today, we'd do whatever we could to ensure our children could grow up somewhere safe, without fear. Even if that meant leaving our home country in search of a new place to call home. And we would hope that we would be offered that sanctuary somewhere without resistance or suspicion.
My views may seem idealistic and naive to you, I don't mind. I believe there is enough room on this planet for everyone. We are all entitled to a home. As John Green says, "We are ONE species, sharing one, profoundly, interconnected world, and humans, ALL humans, are our people."
Sunday, 14 June 2015
I should really tell you a bit about my mother-in-law. Picture a small 70 year old lady with light hair and glasses. Now imagine her driving huge trucks all over Europe bringing aid to eastern European countries. Add a sheepdog that never leaves her side and you pretty much have my mother in law.
She's eccentric, spontaneous and so very generous and kind. So it shouldn't have come as a surprise to myself or Geth when she came to us in December 2012 with a crazy idea.
"Let's pack up our whole lives and move to the French countryside!"
We were surprised. I had just started back at work from maternity leave. My job as a community artist for my county council wasn't paid particularly well but I loved it. Geth worked as a PA at our local college. Shosha was just 6 months old.
So at first it was a bit of a pipe dream; something we mused over and day dreamt about. It pretty much stayed that way for the next year and a bit. In that time I had 3 miscarriages and fell pregnant with Arri.
It all switched gears in April 2014. I was 30 odd weeks pregnant with Arri and was suffering from crippling SPD. Of course it was a natural decision to hop into a camper van and go driving through France on a house hunt.
Amazingly, we found a dream home in the Dordogne department. A huge property with 4 'gites' attached, a huge garden and a pool! Gites are small properties which are usually let out to holidaymakers. We did some research and realised it would be a great business. What sold it to us was that we'd both be able to work from home and be with Shosha and Arri all the time.
Fast forward to now. We're here. In our French home. Our forever home. We have no mortgage. My mother-in-law has set us up with an incredible opportunity to establish and secure a better lifestyle for Shosha and Arri. The place needs a lot of work doing to make it ready for next summer. It's a fantastic challenge. I'm hoping to document the experience here so in years to come when we're millionaires or tycoons in the hospitality industry (!) I can remind myself where we started.
And most importantly, I think, WHY we started.