A child alone in Fortress Europe

I didn’t really see his face, but I am still thinking about him.

Watching last night’s news bulletin, I saw a group of what appeared to be young men managing to go over the razor wire fence that the Hungarians have built to protect Fortress Europe from the supposed migrant tide. But, as the reporters caught up with them, they realised that the group were children. Their ages ranged from eleven to fifteen.

Let’s think about that. Here is a group of boys aged between eleven to fifteen, a long way from home, trying to find some sort of safety from whatever they are fleeing from. Alone.

I have a son in that age range. I am so fortunate that I don’t have to send him across a continent in order to avoid death, being forced to be a soldier, starvation, disease. If I believed (as so many surely do outside Europe) that the only way to have a decent life is to leave home and go through immense danger, then I think I would send my son away to take that journey. Obviously no one who starts out toward Europe can truly can understand the difficulties and dangers. But it is human nature to strive. Hope is a powerful emotion that will take you through hell and back.

And these are children. I turned to my husband, and saw the same reaction in his eyes. These boys need a home, need a mother and a father, need to be children. Decades ago, the UN defined the rights of a child. These children have been surely stripped of them all.

Last night, after watching that news bulletin, I went to sleep thinking of that eleven year old boy hiding in the bushes in Hungary. I feared that the local police will rough him up, the authorities will see him as a problem to be departed. I prayed to a God I no longer believe in, to look after that boy, to keep him safe. I think I prayed because I could think of no other immediate way that I could help that particular child.

To me he is a boy and I want to give him a home. I want to hold him and tell him it’s alright, we will look after him. I feel helpless in the face of an unfolding situation that is inhumane.

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