Let Them In

“Imagine a world where you are enclosed by war, not knowing if you are going to die tomorrow or tonight, or maybe in an hour. Living in a world of fear. Hearing gunshots and shelling day and night, hoping that you won’t be the one to get hit. Not wanting to step outside your door to go to the shops, in fear that you might not return home.” Ava has poise. Her eyes scan the gathering. She has them hooked.

“There are children like Wasem and Maher, who were 3 and 11. They were both executed with knives in front of their parents, who felt as if they were being tortured themselves.” This a conference room in the House of Lords: an audience of academics, politicians, charity leaders and experts.

“The people who are killing and destroying the country and causing the civil war are following harsh dictator Assad and are fighting against ISIS, an equally brutal militant religious group. The citizens are caught up in the middle of this awful war and are fleeing the country. This has caused one of the largest refugee crisis known in history.” There are nearly 200 people in the room. Ava is only 12.

“So it’s pretty bad, right? We surely must do something? There are now over 19.5 million Syrian refugees, that’s nearly four times the population of Scotland. These are harmless innocent citizens fleeing from war and trying to get to safety. So far Britain has only let one thousand refugees into the country. Only one thousand!

“Let them in! Everybody, together, Let them in!” The audience of the great and good join Ava in a rousing chorus of “Let them in”. She stares, shocked that they have followed her command. Surprised that her words could have such power. Relieved, drained, tearful, she sits back down.”

These are the opening paragraphs of a fine article on education that all the governors of St Paul’s were given a couple of weeks ago. Neil Lockyer, our headteacher, told us it was one of the best articles on education he had ever read. To teach a girl of 12 to speak like that in the House of Lords is a wonderful tribute to a school in the East End of London. Google “School 21, Stratford, London” and you will read of a fascinating new emphasis in education.

God bless us to bring good education everywhere,

Fr John
(19th March 2017)