Letter from the Vicar
The distressing scenes from Afghanistan since mid-August, the stories of the desperation of people wanting to leave for fear of their lives, and the bleak prediction for the future of the women and girls within the country have moved us and added to that feeling of helplessness when faced with things we have little or no control over. No doubt there will be political fallout and criticism of foreign policy within this country and the USA as to why things ended as they did, but we shouldn’t lose sight of those with the right to leave who remain in Afghanistan facing greater danger now, or the humanitarian crisis unfolding in parts of the country, or the importance of offering welcome to those who have arrived in the UK.
Four hundred and fifty seven British Service Personnel died in Afghanistan as a result of the operations since 2001 with many more injured and bearing the scars of the conflict. It is tempting to think that they died in vain, that after 20 years of lives given, trillions of pounds spent and hopes raised for the Afghanistan people of stable Government and a just, tolerant, inclusive and peaceful way of life, the Taliban of 2001 have been replaced with the Taliban of 2021.
In every aspect of life, whether it be on the global stage, or within our family, personal and working life, we have to believe with hope that things ultimately can and will change for the better, even when there are setbacks or things seem hopeless for a while. If we believe that good can overcome evil, that right will replace wrong and that truth will find a way through falsehood, then that is why we should never cease from trying always to do the right thing with honesty and integrity, even if that may be costly and even counter cultural. We live in a world that encourages us to be selfish, where corruption and manipulation of the truth can be rife and where those who have, have the power to take even more. Hopefully we can recognise where there is the temptation to do the same and resist it in a desire to be ready always to be generous, thoughtful, kind and compassionate towards our neighbour.
Soon, sadly, the eyes of the world will move away from Afghanistan and it will be tempting then to think that things will settle down and the worst predictions will not happen. But it is important that our eyes are not averted from the suffering of others, or from those who cry out for justice, support, compassion and love. For now, we may only be able to respond through donating clothes or money to help and support, as well as to think, reflect, comment, challenge and pray. These show though that we do care and feel at one with our neighbour, as we work for a just world.
How might you help?
Upbeat Communities (one of the refugee charities in Derby) have launched a Just Giving page. By receiving financial donations they are able to be flexible in providing immediate support and make plans for support in the coming weeks. For details go to https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/UpbeatCommunitiesAfghanAppeal
A list of urgently needed items will be published as soon as possible. DRS (Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity) are always happy to receive donations for their work with refugees including those from Afghanistan. For further information go to www.derbyshirerefugeesolidarity.org or Facebook http://m.facebook.com
Meanwhile we are invited to contact our MP to ensure the Government commits to its promise to resettle more Afghan refugees along with those currently here in the UK who are not part of the resettlement scheme and some of whom may be being held in detention centres.