This week in Scotland is National Refugee week. The theme is, Different Pasts, Shared Future. It’s a good title. People now live in Scotland who have come away from some horrible situations. Many are happy just to be alive and many more have left close friends and relatives who are still struggling to get themselves out of some very dangerous places.
I know all this because our pal Rachel was getting a choir together for the launch of the week. She was a little short on numbers so Lorraine agreed to join in. They helped launch the week last week at Kelvingrove Art Gallery here in Glasgow. Tonight at the Tron Theatre I’m heading down with our tribe to see their mum in action as the choir do a wee reprise of their set at the Tron theatre. We can’t wait. Lorraine’s been going around singing African songs for a week so we want to find out what happens when all the chanters get together.
Our pal Rachel runs a place called The Village Story Telling Centre. They encourage people to tell stories and share them. Knowing that I like a wee story they invited me to come and tell a few myself one night. Rachel’s the only person that’s ever said to me. “more stories less music,” so for that, I’m very grateful to her. It’s a great place and in the few years that Rachel’s been there it’s taken on a much bigger role in the life of the people of Pollok. If you’d like to find out more about them you can here.
If you are in Scotland remember it’s refugee week. Remember that there are people who you may be passing every day who have amazing stories. Remember to that these stories will become our stories in generations to come. All countries are made up of people moving from one place to make a new life together. The best countries are places where all these people make it happen together.
Rachel’s centre is in a Church of Scotland building in Pollok. It reminds me of the old apocryphal tale of the preacher who arrived at a church event to speak under the heading, “Who is my neighbour?” Before he got a word in a man heckled from the back pew, “Why don’t you chap his door and ask him?” We could do a lot worse.
Wow! I think I am living in the wrong place. God bless Rachel and Lorraine for all they are doing. I never thought that in my own country we would see the rise of such distrust, fear and anxiety manifested in such anger toward our neighbors from Mexico and Latin America. Oh heck! Anyone who is considered non-white.
I complain about the heat, well imagine being so desparate for a job that pays a living wage that you dare to try and cross open desert not sure where civilization might lie, with temperatures about 128 degrees (yea, yea that Fahrenheit). No water, no shade save for scrub creosote bushes and a few prickley cactus. We find up to 250 bodies in that darned desert, all ages. Last night the sheriff’s office had to rescue a Mom from a 30 ft. deep well that she crawled down trying to get water for her two children and herself. She got stuck. Some idiot, of course, said, “They should send her a bill for the rescue.”
Lots of churches have put up water stations along the open desert of Southern Arizona and they patrol to see if they can spot “people” in trouble.
You stated it quite clearly, all of us are people just trying to make a better life.
My parents were good examples for me. When we first moved to AZ a doctor in the same apartment building that we stayed in was from Egypt and he was having to go through internship all over again because he did not have a degree from a USA university. He only went to the Royal Academy of Medicine in the UK. HELLO!!!!!
He and his wife we working on citizenship and needed a sponsor, so my Dad became their sponsor……oh, and the wife was from Edinburgh, you may be familiar with that city. Anyway, they were also working in public health programs to meet all of the requirements for him to practice as a full MD. Christmas that year Mom and Dad and Rachel and George held a joint holiday party and we had our family and their friends all medical people working on qualifying and from all over the world. We had 35 people in our little 1800 sq. ft. house. Great stories, great songs, great food, best holiday all around.
So, three years ago my youngest son had a friend whose family were refugees from Uganda. The father had passed away and they were working on staying here having lived nowhere else, but having to jump through hoops following 9/11. My kids and my older son’s in-laws and I, said, pardon the bluntness, “Screwit!” We are sponsoring them. The only way to do that was to adopt one of them……so I have a third son and his Mom, two sisters and little brother are safe.
Keep up the good works. There are never enough.
Bless you all.
Oh, and Isaac has gone to culinary school and fixed the rehearsal dinner for the older son’s wedding. I was his assistant. Man can I clean up a kitchen.
“Different Pasts Shared Future” is indeed a good and optimistic title.
I think the word “refugee” has taken on such negative connotations in this country that we all but forget what that word truly means for individuals and families. There’s so much we take for granted in our day-to-day lives, and this is a telling reminder of the same.
Yep! I like it, too, “Different Pasts shared Future.” Brings together instead of dividing.
we as a nation have a great tradition for helping others and for our benevilance to those in need.
we have often take more refugee’s into our great nation that larger nations with better finances have.
it is a shame that now due to imagration issues and terrorist issues that the whole thing now brings such distaste.
we must remember that there is a wealth of difference to a refugee that there is to an imigrant.
we should help those in true need of shelter and a safe haven. the things we take for granted.
yes i agree we let far to many people into our home.
we are a small nation after all.
there is a wealth of difference to a refugee in need to that of a polish man looking for work.
we need to get over our fears of being able to speak our minds.
we need to get over this thing in our cities and towns where we are made to feel ashamed for speaking about such issues.
no it is not racist to say we have far to many imagrants.
what we should be doing is giving space and help to those who really do need our help.
we are all one living and sharing our one planet.
our one home.
if i was in fear for my life or the life of my loved ones, i would want the door to open if i knocked.
on the other hand if i wanted to move to a country simply for a better income or a new way of life i would happily accept to be told no.
there is no room at the end.
well done lorraine.
you and ricky sould be proud of your activities.
you both inspire me.
you’ve never let the showbiz get to big.
you have stayed true to your roots and you put back alot as well.