Being abroad invariably means less news from home and less news in general. Our accommodation in Ypres did not have easy access to Wi-Fi, and I was rather happy with the forced withdrawal from my own Internet Addiction Disorder. Now that I am safely home in Dublin, and already assailed with last week’s news, I want to tear my internet box from the wall and drop all my web-browsing devices in the bathtub. Right now we need the whole world to slow all the way down and for everyone to climb off and have a good think about just what it is we are doing. Last Wednesday my thoughts were with young lads a hundred years ago lying face down in the mud in Flanders. Now last Wednesday’s news is a little baby boy lying face down in the surf in Turkey. I am not going to write about that image, and I’m not because I can’t. How I feel about this is something I can only talk to God about, and all I can suggest to anyone reading is that you do the same – or at least THINK about it! Just how it has taken an image like this to start waking everyone else up is beyond me.

Another, happier, photo I see is of a smiling little boy with a German policeman. He’s wearing the policeman’s hat and both are looking into one another’s eyes and smiling big open smiles. This is a snapshot of the world as it should be. Yet even this glimpse of paradise is not good enough. Here on my Facebook newsfeed are suggestions that Germany’s welcome to the refugees is an act of repentance (‘תשובה’ in Hebrew); “that when faced with the same temptation to sin you are able to change previous behaviour and act better.” How can I put this? Like a good many people I lost patience for this quasi-susperstitious spin on history and politics when I watched an Israeli helicopter gunship gun down children playing football on a Gaza beach. We all need to put our brains in gear here. This is not the Holocaust nor is it an opportunity to gain the limelight with an appeal to it. Israel and far too many other nations are not taking refugees, but Germany is! Germany and the German people (including Jewish Germans) were the first victims of the Nazis. Modern Germany and modern Germans have nothing to make up for or for which to apologise. Let’s just follow their example.

Jason Michael
Blog Author

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