So, despite the fact we are in the run up to Christmas, things are mad at the moment. Indescribably so. When the decision to bomb Syria was made two weeks ago I, along with many others, was scared, confused and angry.
Everyone had responses and counter responses. Facebook, Twitter and every news outlet was alight with so much opinion that it was hard to decipher any sense of clarity, truth or indeed any notion of what we should do next. To me, adding my own ill-informed voice seemed yet another crass addition to an endless torrent of chaos. It all felt like white noise. Ultimately, I felt paralysed and small and complicit in my inaction. I felt completely helpless.
I’m sure many of you feel the same in the face of the awful things that happen around us and can feel like anything you could do would barely make a dent. But doing something, no matter how small, has surely got to be better than nothing.
I’m not saying I have all the answers and I certainly won’t pretend to understand the complexities of what’s going on right now. All I know is that in living memory we have been here before – the people being persecuted are different, but the cause and effect and the subsequent rhetoric and fear brewing are very familiar. We said never again, but it is happening yet again. If I think about it too much I sink further into hopelessness or even worse, a deadened apathy. But that can’t happen. I’m not too sure what we do from here, but I know that nothing is simply not an option.
To counter this, a group of local Bristol artists have come together with me to raise funds in support and solidarity of the refugee crisis.
We have come up with two things. The first is a bespoke poem service where anyone can email me and request a poem on whatever topic they like for themselves or a loved one.
In the lead up to Christmas we reckon this is a lovely and unique gift or just something nice for yourself to have. I have a group of ten poets who are all passionate, talented and ready to tackle whatever subject matter you chuck at us! If you’d like to order a poem, please follow this link to find out how to request what you want and also how to donate your money.
Our second fundraising scehme is a showcase of amazing Bristol talent – we have poets, musicians and even a magician! It is happening from 6.30pm – 8.30pm on Friday 18 December, at the Malcolm X Community Centre. Many people from the refugee community use the Centre which will make it an inclusive event where people from different areas of Bristol can come together. Please come to support and donate if you are Bristol based – the line up is full of fantastically talented people so you will be thoroughly entertained. But more importantly it will be a chance to demonstrate that we are in solidarity with those fleeing conflict and that we care.
We really, really hope you can come. If you, too, are at a loss as to how you can begin to help this Christmas, this is as good a start as any.