The foreigner



3000 chairs

This week, MPs  voted 294 to 276 against the Dubs Amendment. Lord Alf Dubs wanted 3000 child refugees who currently live alone in Calais, to be able to move to the UK.

That’s 3000 (and probably more by now) kids who have lost not only their homes and school and neighbourhoods in a war; but kids who have now been separated from their families and are now in a cold, hostile country all alone. Maybe if they are lucky, they have an older brother or sister to look after them. Most of these children would have seen terrible things: rape, murder, bomb-damaged bodies. Things that you have probably never seen, and I don’t think you would want your kids to see.

That’s 3000 kids who are afraid and not going to school, and may be suffering from PTSD.  

That’s 3000 children who are at real danger of being taken by child traffickers into a life of slavery.

There is still hope because Lord Dubs has changed his proposals a little, to be put before the House of Lords next Tuesday. The proposal will not say 3000 kids, but ‘a specific number’, as the 3000 seemed to scare the MPs who voted against.

I can  understand that some people are worried about Britain being overrun by foreigners. But you really need to get over yourselves. The war in Syria is not these children’s fault. They are innocent casualties.

Let’s say that war broke out in the UK, and your child/ren ended up in a similar situation.

Would you be happy with the thought of your kids being all alone out there in a hostile country? Would you be happy for them to take their chances, knowing that child-abusers and traffickers are on the lookout for fresh prey?

Or would you hope that someone would be your voice and stand up for your kids? Would you be desperate for people to treat your family with some basic human respect and decency, and do their best to provide a safe family home for your children, until one day you can hopefully be reunited?

Nicola Davies, a children’s author, has written a blog about this. She had an idea for 3000 people to draw a chair in support of the Dubs Amendment. The chair represents the 3000 kids living alone.

I have drawn a chair and posted it to Twitter, with the #3000chairs.

You can do the same: you don’t have to be good at art.

Link to Nicola Davies blog.


Guardian article.

2016-04-29 20.29.13
My chair.