While we sit at home during these uncertain times and reflect on how quickly our lives have changed, I hope that we also take a moment to consider those who also face uncertainty, but uncertainty of a different kind.
While we spend our uncertainty at home, trying to work out how to educate and entertain the kids, others spend their uncertainty in their homes, trying to work out how to distract their kids from the bombs that rain down upon them.
While we are forced to make decisions such as whether or not we should be relaxing our screen time restrictions, others are forced to make heart-wrenching decisions such as whether or not the family should sleep in one room….is it better to be all killed at once so that nobody has to live with the pain, or should they separate so that at least some of them survive?
While we worry about a possible disruption to our children’s education, others worry about the trauma of growing up in a warzone and the impact this will have on their children’s lives.
While we worry about running out of toilet paper and paper towel, others worry about running out of food.
While we panic when we see empty supermarket shelves for a couple of weeks, others face this for months or even years on end. Not because some are hoarding and supermarkets can not keep up, but simply because there is not enough food to go around. They watch their children get thinner and thinner.
While we worry about the possibility of spending the winter inside our solid homes with ducted heating and all the creature comforts we are accustomed to, others worry about spending the winter in flimsy tents that offer next to no protection against the elements. They watch on as one by one other children die overnight from the freezing conditions and wonder if their child will be next.
While we worry about losing our homes due to not being able to pay mortgages, others worry about losing their homes to bombs, along with their possessions inside of it, and possibly their entire families.
While we struggle today our brothers and sisters in humanity have been facing unimaginable struggles for years. And while we rightfully stress the importance of being in this all together and helping one another out, our treatment of ‘others’ has not been so benevolent. Over the past decade or so the Australian government has prided itself on its refusal to hold out a hand to those who are struggling, and our message has been loud and clear: do not bother coming here because we do not want to help anybody. It shouldn’t take a disaster to recognise cruelty and harshness, but if anything positive comes from our current situation I hope it will be finding our humanity.