Usually, I’m not a political person. Give me enough food, some books, a video game and WIFI and I could stay in my own little flat for quite a while without bothering if the world outside is still there or not. As for the refugee crisis … I’ve come to the conclusion that I’d rather stay the hell out of any discussions. The problem, I guess, is that I can somehow understand both aspects: the sufferings of these poor people as well as let’s call it logistical problems. The idea of welcoming refugees and of open doors seems great, of course, but how to make it possible? Where to get shelter, supplies, education, so many wheres and whats and hows …
But I’m not here to bother you with my thoughts on something that can’t be discussed in only a few paragraphs. There is something about Richard’s latest tweet that just made me sentimental in a way that I am usually not.
His report of the visit to the Berliner Stadtmission has something very simple and therefore beautiful for me. He’s playing himself down as some “dumb average actor” as we are used from our moody anti-socialite, but this time he also points something out at what he considers himself more than average: observing people and feeling Empathy. I guess we can agree on that from his roles – I for myself cannot remember thinking “Ah, now he’s acting”. Richard always seems to be his role. No acting, but Empathy.
And his record of playing with the kids … Thinking about it, it’s quite heart-breaking. I have never considered that a balloon could be an inappropriate toy for these kids! And though Richard manages to tell in a light tone, even with a sense of cheerfulness (like his brilliant multi-colored hairstyle drawings or being built like a climb frame) you feel a kind of helplessness while reading. And kicking down the lego wall with Paul …
But what I like to point out is the one thing that Richard really manages: He is not talking about problems, pros and cons of refugee policits (though he states his own opinion of the importance of home, safety, and health) … He is not actually judging anyone or anything. But he reminds us that we shouldn’t imagine “refugees”, but humans.
This made me think of one of my favourite quote from the Hobbit movies:
It is the small things, everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay … Simple acts of kindness and love.
Visiting these children and playing with them may seem like a simple act of Richard, but it was full of kindness and love indeed. Maybe this is what we should think of – not only when talking about refugees, but in general.
Phew. It feels quite good to have this written; I guess it would have bothered me otherwise (though it still does, in a way – and I think it should!). Thanks for your honest and truly felt words, Mr Armitage. You made me think, and that’s the most important thing one can do. And thank you, my readers, for listening to my thoughts.
Don’t bother knocking, Aquilea