You’re walking to work one morning along a river, running slightly late but not too much. The sun is shining and the air is brisk, your pulse elevated. You think of the to do list for the morning, or the to do list at home you just left on stand by. You have shopping to do after work this evening. You are always so busy. Suddenly as you turn a bend a woman runs to you and tries to hand you her baby, crying and pointing at the river. She needs to save her toddler who is in the river. You could jump in and save the toddler yourself. You could take the infant and let her jump in. Or, because you’re late for work, you could keep walking and tell her “sorry, I can’t help you.”
What do you do?
If there are rumours going around that this scenario is a trap, do you still not try to save the toddler?
There are many thousands of toddlers who need saving. After having run from almost certain death at home in Syria, they are still searching for a place of safety. Many live hungry, cold and sick in camps as you read this.
In the Game of Thrones, Aria is a much loved character for her bravery. Joffery is reviled for his selfish nature and the lack of any thread of humanity.
Do we want to be Aria? Or Joffery?
I’m already seeing the articles and the comments about the fact that it’s possible that one of the terrorists in Paris this week got into Europe as a refugee. I’m already seeing people talking about closing the borders, deporting them all, treating all Muslims as terrorists, carpet bombing the entire Middle East.
Of course it’s terrifying, the idea that terrorism can be upon us. That it may one day be right on our doorstep. Of course we want to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Of course.
But courage is an important quality in our culture. You cannot be a decent, moral person without bravery in this world. We are awash in films, songs and stories of the brave hero who saves the day. In those stories, the coward who slinks back and runs away is mocked.
Syrian refugees are real. They are made of real, live, human families. Real, live children who need saving right now. Are we going to be brave enough to help them or are we going to be Joffery, too concerned for our own plush lifestyle to bother trying to help?
“Living by faith includes the call to something greater than cowardly self-preservation.” JRR Tolkien
My heart goes out to all of those affected by the terrorist attacks in Paris. My heart goes out to those affected by the terrorist attacks in Lebanon, and Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and all across the world.