An apology to my Daughter.
I’ve always protected you from just how fucked up our world is.
You’re my little girl, and you’ve developed into a smarter, kinder and more empathetic person that your father was, or to be brutally honest, still is now. It’s natural I want to protect you because that’s what fathers do, but that’s caused me to lie to you and insulate you from the madness that exists all around us each and evvery day. That’s why I’m sorry.
I’ve told you you that junkies asleep in the park were just “tired.” They weren’t — they have a drug addiction and have over-indulged to the extent it’s rendered them incapable of movement.
I’ve switched channels from the news to Spongebob, when live feeds of the latest shelling in Ukraine, Palestine or Libya have flashed up in glorious HD. I shouldn’t have, because miles above Bikini Bottom humans are blowing up other humans. It’s happening right now, and will continue to for the entirety of your life.
I’ve explained away the fact Dad’s broke, again, and that you can’t get that thing you want because I “didn’t earn enough money this month.” I did, I earned plenty, I just blew it. Repeatedly. People are dicks sometimes - even good people.
When you came into the living room in Saturday and found dad listening ‘Ahmed’ by the UK rapper Lowkey, and your eyes were drawn to the screen and the images were clearly making you uncomfortable, I need you to know why I couldn’t change the channel.
Children are dying due to the conflict in Syria on a daily basis. Children younger than you are risking life and limb to escape a country ravaged by religious intolerance, murder and bombing. People’s homes have been destroyed, their bodies disfigured by a bloody war which has claimed countless lives and left millions displaced. This has been happening for years and shows no immediate signs of getting better. The bombing, murder and hatred continues unabated. Millions will flee in the hope of making a better life for their families. Many of those will perish before reaching their destination.
So when your face contorted in discomfort at seeing an image of toddler lying lifeless on the beach with his back bent, I’m sorry but I couldn’t skip to something else. I wanted to, but I couldn’t.
In a world as violent as ours, a world where we are bombarded by hate-filled rhetoric about refugees, it’s important the next generation understand what these people are running from.
For Ahmed, and everyone else.