Why Houla Dreams?
Saturday 26th May 2012 was a beautiful sunny day in Belfast; after a busy week at work I was looking forward to doing “Granny stuff” spending the day with my 8 month old grandson.
We had a great day; me as proud as a Grandmother can be and he a sunny little boy watching the world go by as I wheeled his pram through my home town of Holywood. I spent time looking at the shops and catching up with old friends and school chums from 40 years gone by. We stopped at one of the many cafes and had our drinks under the shade of a big umbrella, tea with a slice of lemon and a blueberry scone never tasted so good.
We trundled along to ‘Johnny the Jig’ the little playground known to everyone in my home town, the sculpture glistening in the sun – a carefree boy playing his accordion. This was my playground as a child and where I took my three children after school on sunny days and rainy days. Saturday was no different to any sunny day – mums and dads and grannies and granddads with small children of assorted sizes. Some were enjoying the rough and tumble in the playground, one little boy with a big dripping ice cream cone was trying to outrun a determined wasp and mums while chatting had the one eye on their precious child or children that is part of the built in radar that parents have.
Back home to my house for tea and me thinking that while my bones and joints were a bit stiffer, and perhaps I hadn’t managed to put the nappy on that wriggling little octopus quite to the standard of his parents, I had brought him back to them content, sleepy, washed and changed and ready for bed – as I was!
I hadn’t heard or read any news all day and when I began to look at twitter much was focused on the Eurovision song contest….. Then I began to read about Houla. First tears of sadness, then anger and frustration, then back to thinking about those poor children and families, generations left bereft.
Of course, I aired my anger and frustration and distress on twitter and with my friends and colleagues – but I recognised the pattern, I would be fired up, give to a campaign or fund and then the other things in my world would start to take over, and the children of Houla would be filtered into a memory box with the many other child casualties of conflict.
My friends and colleagues asked me what I wanted to do, could they help? I knew I didn’t want to raise money (not that this isn’t important) and I also knew that I didn’t want to rant, or blog or make political statements – I wanted to try and do something which was simply about remembering and not forgetting the children of Houla – as children first and foremost, with hopes and dreams, lost before their time.
I remembered being in Olso just 2 weeks before the hopes and dreams of those young lives were lost before their time and at the Nobel Peace Center with my colleague Anne, we wrote our messages of peace on sticky notes and left them with countless others – we both said afterwards that we wanted a better world for our children and grandchildren.
I am collecting our dreams as children to remember and not forget the children of Houla. This is my dream in my handwriting – 10 minutes to remember and not forget the children of Houla. If you can share yours, then we can dream for the children of Houla together. Thank you,