26 July 2013

There but for the grace of somebody go I.

I was very lucky today to be nominated for a Liebster Award by the fantastic Dr Leanne Winters on her Raising Boys blog today.  If you haven't read her, you should check her out her out here, yep, here where it is highlighted!

And I was going to Liebster it up.

But I have the evening to myself and I have been doing some thinking.  Today, as I do every year, I went to see 1440 and The World Press photo exhibition.  So I'm going to Liebster if up over the weekend but today I am going to work myself through the exhibition's aftermath.

As always, it moved me. And disturbed me.  And made me feel slightly awkward.  And bored me (sports photo bit), and made me laugh.  But mostly, it disturbed me.

The casual stance of neighbours torturing each other.  The mother burned in an acid attack. The babies piled high in a morgue as a result of a missile attack.  The soldiers floating in oil slicks on disputed borders.  The mattresses of prostitutes in wheat fields outside cities. The terror in the face of a boy who survived his parent's suicide pact. Praying volunteer firemen post tsunami. Broken limbs. Hopeful faces. Destroyed cities.

Some people's every day realities.  Some people's normality. Unfathomable.

And I, well I distracted my older toddler with Peppa Pig games while my baby slept and I circled that room full of snapshots of other people's everyday..  I believe in reality.  I believe in honesty around death.  But how, how do I contextualise those pictures for them?  I have no words that would describe them adequately.  My children have no experiences which would allow them to empathise.  I like, no I love, that they believe the world to be a good place full of licking furniture, trampolines and tickling.  I adore this about them.  The freshness. The trust.  The vitality.

But I am sad.  So very sad for people who don't have the luxury of safety.  Of trust.  Of normality. Of love.

You might ask, well why do you go?

Because the photography is exquisite.  The stories told simply.  With one picture.  And these are real.  Real life for so many.  Real, inexplicable, terrible, painful, joyous, personal.  To capture that is a gift.  To view it, a privilege.  Such talent. Such courage.  Wow.

These are lives I will never live.  Lives I can not ignore just because they are not my own.

Do I know what to do?  No.

But do I think it important that we do not live our lives in ignorance. Yes.

I hear people say "I don't watch the news, it is too depressing.".  Well I say to you - "Selfish and get your head out of your own backside".

How fucking lucky are you to have the luxury of ignoring violence, fear, pain, persecution?  Of uncertainty?  Of discrimination?  Of difference?

You can't fix it necessarily no.  But you should never ignore it.  You should never disregard those journeys.  Because it's just a genetic freakin' lottery that you are not them.  As the expression goes - there but for the grace of God go I.

And if you're not religious - you get the point so spare me the 'god' semantics of the expression.

Do I want my children to know of those things? No.  But do I do them any justice by ignoring the reality of so many people on the planet?  No.  So therefore they have to be exposed. Gently.  With Peppa Pig in their laps when they glance up at one photo and say to me - that man needs a band aid, He has some blood on his face.

Yes darling he does.  That's a good suggestion.