Last night I caught a glimpse – just a snippet, I was on my way to do something and I happened to see it – of the BBC news and their special report into the plight of thousands of people trapped under siege in Southern Damascus. Here’s the link to the programme on iplayer, if you can see it where you are.
The bit I saw was of a young lad, I’ll estimate he was about 10 or 11, who had been sent out to queue for bread. The BBC correspondent was interviewing him and as she did, his face crumpled and he broke down, because there was no bread. My heart just split in half for him. He’d been sent out with the responsibility of finding food for the family, and there was none. He was going to have to go back to them empty handed…
I thought about him all last night and woke up thinking about him this morning. I’m crying for him again now, writing this. I know the UN are fighting to get supplies into Yarmuk, and that there’s a possibility that the BBC correspondent was able to help him in some way (whatever their policy) and that just because he was crying (and it cost him to cry, you could see it – he just was at the end of the line with his big brave lad emotions) he’s not in any worse state than the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children in the same situation, but there was something about him that made me want to jump on a plane and get out there and DO SOMETHING.
As much as I feel this ache when I hear about horrible things happening to children of any age, there is something about seeing a boy of the approximate age of my own lovely son that just wipes me out. We are so lucky, people. So very fortunate. And our happiness and fortune can be wiped out just – like – that.
The last time I felt this was on reading this article by Amelia Gentleman in the Guardian last year. I urge you to read it, if you have a spare few moments. Go and read it now, and then come back.
Are you back? Great. Thank you.
I felt so much for these boys (and girls, but fewer of them – I suspect the girls remain behind, and are no less in danger because of it) – taking these terrifying journeys into the unknown, risking so much and then still vulnerable, even when they think they must now be safe because they are in the UK. Again, being a mum to a ten year old, the thought of him making a journey like that on his own is just terrifying.
I’ve written a short story about it, which for a limited time only is free to download in the UK. It’s meant to be an introduction of sorts to the DCI Louisa Smith series, which will begin in paperback with Under a Silent Moon in the UK on 8th May, and in the US and Canada on 15th April. There are links to all the download options for Promises to Keep here. I’m sorry it’s only in the UK at the moment, I’m hoping it will be released in the USA soon, and I will keep you informed.
Lots of love to you all!