Around 10 or so years ago, my husband and I sat in our first little home (sans kids) and watched live coverage as the war in Iraq began. I remember thinking to myself how scared all of the children living there must have been, after listening to a report in which a journalist told the UK about what happens at nghtfall. The bombs start to drop. Children are woken in their beds and screaming in terror as booms and bangs explode into the sky. For an innocent child, there is no reasonable explanation.
Some years later, we discovered that our daughter hates fireworks. Her terror reminds me of those children and with every banger that explodes bright lights into the sky, her face displays her fear. How lucky we are, we think, that these explosions are just fireworks. How lucky we are that our children are safe in their beds.
But are they still safe? Ok, so I live far away from London now but I didn’t used to. That’s not the point. This is my country, my capital. This is my children I have to think about. What kind of a world did I bring them into? I watched the BBC coverage last night and felt sick to my stomach listening to a man recounting the fact that he was unable to get home to his girlfriend and her young daughter. The young child was begging him to come home and look after them but he couldn’t. I turned on my phone and caught up with people on Twitter who had parents, cousins and partners stuck in various parts of London. I read sick ‘London’s Burning’ jokes on Facebook. This is no joke.
In April we were a proud nation (of sorts) as our future king married his future queen. All eyes were on Great Britain as we updated the history books and got down to a nationwide knees-up. Now, all eyes are on us again but we’re not so ‘Great’ Britain anymore.
Children in war-torn countries have to sleep at night with pillows over their ears so that they don’t hear the sounds of gun fire. Children in war-torn countries are living in fear, poverty and danger. We are not a war-torn country- or are we? Last night, children in London slept with pillows over their ears and fear in their hearts and for what? What kind of protest is this now?
*image source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/