I didn’t want to write this post and thought hard about doing so, especially today. It’s my baby’s first birthday and I wanted to fill the blog with cake, presents and balloons, but I can’t not write it. Every time I think of writing a birthday post I find my mind wandering to a far off country and images from the pages of our papers that I can’t un-see.
There are times when our world is so horrific that I have to turn away. I have to switch off the radio, or the television and avert my eyes from the paper. That’s OK, I don’t feel guilty for that. I don’t forget the suffering or the bad news, I simply can’t bear to hear it any more. Unfortunately, since I’ve had children the times I’ve had to switch off have increased and recently they’ve become even more frequent. I’ve been turning it off a lot this week.
However, there are also times, when despite wanting to turn away, you have to publicly, officially say “This is wrong and I want something to be done”, even if you are not entirely sure what needs to be done and feel quite helpless.
This is what I am doing today.
A week ago 108 people were killed in Houla, Syria, 49 of them were children. Children. No different to my children. They were loved and cherished and their parents would have been marvelling at watching them grow and hoping they would face a bright future. Now, they face no future at all. They were slaughtered, not by a far away bomb but by the hands of their government’s army, carrying knives and guns. They saw the faces of these children and they killed them anyway.
Kofi Annan, the UN envoy has called the massacre in Houla “a tipping point” and I can only hope it is. I am adding my voice to the Save the Children petition and I urge you to do the same. It doesn’t seem enough, but it makes a noise. It tells those that can do something real, that we want them to act.
We mustn’t turn away. Every voice, every name, every blog post and every tweet or retweet can make that noise louder. We need to make it so loud that our world leaders cannot block it out and cannot turn away.
There will be plenty of time and space to record and share my baby’s birthday with you, but for now, let’s just do this, shall we?