“This is not war anymore,” said, Dmytro Gurin, a Ukrainian MP.
“This is not army against army. It is carpet bombing. It is Russia against humanity.”
My mother was born in Teplitz – an attractive town – that is now in the Czech Republic. Her first language was German. However, when the Nazi troops entered the Sudetenland in 1938 she and her parents knew that they were in danger. Then – and not long after – in 1939 – they became refugees. They lost everything and found a kind of refuge in the UK. My mother never really recovered and I was brought up in the dark shadow of her underlying, unceasing trauma. (I have never been persuaded that anyone can ever quite understand what it is to be made a refugee and ‘lose’ everything.)
Now, another catastrophe has been inflicted on Europe. Now more than a million souls – innocent, harmless souls – have, like my forebears, been made refugees.
But I am very angry. I have had to listen to a truly deplorable set of senior politicians in the UK who have shown an appalling lack of empathy and imagination concerning the reality of the Ukrainian refugees. I can scarcely believe it possible that they are so mean-spirited. I wrote (yet again) to my local MP – simply to set out exactly what I thought of the current Home Secretary’s unconscionable response to the crisis. This is what I wrote:
I am one of your constituents in South West Surrey and I am shocked and appalled by the Home Secretary’s response to the dreadful humanitarian crisis that has befallen millions of people in Ukraine. I have been left almost speechless by the failure of the Rt. Hon. Priti Patel to fulfil the most basic obligations, duties and requirements commensurate with her role. I am afraid that she has both misjudged the public mood and ignored the basic ethos of decency, consideration and compassion that is supposed to characterise our democracy. Like many of my friends and neighbours we implore you to demand that she waive the visa requirements and allow so many desperate people to seek refuge in our country. I cannot overstate how strongly I feel on this matter.
I do thank you for the efforts that you – along with a number of other senior conservative MPs – have already made on behalf of people like myself; notwithstanding I do think the Home Secretary should jettison her dogmatic and cruel stance. But, surely, we can do better as a nation … can’t we?
In my own mind, she has ceased to be Priti Patel. Instead, she is Priti Cruel.
Post Script: I think we need to rid ourselves of the unprincipled leadership of the Conservative party.
Footnote: The photo shows an excerpt from a large art work concerned with ‘conflict’. The excerpt makes a reference to the unspeakable and evil leader of Russia.