As the New Year gets underway in our lovely community that is Doune, it’s worth counting our blessings and sparing a thought for those who aren’t as fortunate. 

As we watch pictures on our TV night after night of lines of dishevelled women, men and children marching through southern Europe looking for a refuge from war in Syria and elsewhere, we might think, “What if it was me?”

People understandably have different views on the current migrant crisis.  Many fear those with ulterior motives slipping across borders amidst the dense procession of misery, only to take jobs from local people, claim benefits or wreak havoc.  There may be rare instances.  But let’s not forget, the vast majority of poor souls traipsing across Europe really have nowhere to go.  What would we do?

In Syria, people’s homes have been destroyed as villages, towns, cities and whole regions have been laid to waste by bombs, bullets and madness.  Syria was a wealthy country with a strong middle class – not a source of the economic migrants.

Yet today there are seven million refugees who have fled for their lives.  Many have seen their parents, children and neighbours killed in front of them.  In parts of Syria there are hospitals carrying out operations without anaesthetic and villages where people are dying of starvation.

How fortunate are we?  Imagine for a moment if a bomb hit your house?  Or you woke up tomorrow and Doune was surrounded by tanks, artillery and men with guns and bad intentions.  What if they shelled the village while snipers shot dead anyone who dared to come into the open?  Worse still, imagine our beautiful village was destroyed altogether and only rubble and smoke remained.

What would you do?  Would you take your family and flee?

Thankfully, we’re safe.  We have peace. When the sun comes up tomorrow it will shine on our lovely little community.  And hopefully the day after too.  What we have is easy to overlook, and that’s ok.  But maybe we should spare a positive thought this year for the millions of people whose villages and communities no longer exist, who are now looking for somewhere else to call home.

A Thought for the Month by Val Morgan

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