PUSHING BACK THE WAR WITH EVERY STEP
PUSHING BACK THE WAR WITH EVERY STEP The day war came there were flowers on the window sill and my father sang my baby brother back to sleep. My mother made my breakfast, kissed my nose and walked with me to school.
That morning I learned about volcanoes, I sang a song about how tadpoles turn at last to frogs. I made a picture of myself with wings. Then, just after lunch, while I watched a cloud shaped like a dolphin, war came. At first, just like a spattering of hail a voice of thunder… then all smoke and fire and noise, that I didn’t understand.
It came across the playground. It came into my teacher’s face. It brought the roof down. and turned my town to rubble. I can’t say the words that tell you about the blackened hole that had been my home. All I can say is this: war took everything war took everyone I was ragged, bloody, all alone.
I ran. Rode on the back of trucks, in buses; walked over fields and roads and mountains, in the cold and mud and rain; on a boat that leaked and almost sank and up a beach where babies lay face down in the sand. I ran until I couldn’t run until I reached a row of huts and found a corner with a dirty blanket and a door that rattled in the wind But war had followed me. It was underneath my skin, behind my eyes, and in my dreams. It had taken possession of my heart.
I walked and walked to try and drive war out of myself, to try and find a place it hadn’t reached. But war was in the way that doors shut when I came down the street It was in the way the people didn’t smile, and turned away.
Tales from a diverse universe by Shaun Tan – gallery View gallery I came to a school. I looked in through the window. They were learning all about volcanoes And drawing birds and singing. I went inside. My footsteps echoed in the hall I pushed the door and faces turned towards me but the teacher didn’t smile. She said, there is no room for you, you see, there is no chair for you to sit on, you have to go away. And then I understood that war had got here too.
Why I wrote a book about having a disabled sibling – in pictures View gallery I turned around and went back to the hut, the corner and the blanket and crawled inside. It seemed that war had taken all the world and all the people in it. The door banged. I thought it was the wind. But a child’s voice spoke “I brought you this,” she said “so you can come to school.” It was a chair. A chair for me to sit on and learn about volcanoes, frogs and singing And drive the war out of my heart. She smiled and said “My friends have brought theirs too, so all the children here can come to school” Out of every hut a child came and we walked together, on a road all lined with chairs. Pushing back the war with every step.
~ Nicola Davies
So many times I am asked: Why did you create One Light Global? Why do you do this work despite the danger, exhaustion, heart breaking stories, the time away from home, the overwhelming size of the crisis?
Today we brought letters from children and teens in Arizona to a class of refugee students at Refugees Foundation Serbia here in Belgrade.
There is nothing that compares to seeing the light shift in a child's eyes to realize that other children all the way across the world know and care about them, and even more: are just like them. To watch their smile suddenly broaden with recognition and their heart open - to feel these two lights on opposite sides of the planet, separated by so much, suddenly connect in an instant.
This is my why. This is the planting of the seeds of human connection and global peace. This is why I wake up in the morning, and don't sleep til late at night, and go all day - to share this simple understanding. We are one family, we can love each other, we can share this planet. Together, we can create peace in the world.