A Letter from One Mother to Another

Dear Irresponsible Migrant Mother,

What exactly were you thinking when you woke your children in the dead of the  night, picking up the baby still asleep?  Don’t you know how important it is for children to get enough sleep? They’ll be cranky during the day if they don’t sleep enough.  They won’t develop properly if you keep doing this.  Children need routine.  That baby you’re holding needs to be warm and comfortable, cocooned and safe, like a tiny bud, waiting to bloom in the morning. Those toddlers won’t be able to walk the miles you want them to in the black night in worn out shoes without a good night’s sleep.

What’s that? Speak up.  You had to travel at night? It was safer? It was quieter? There was less chance of being discovered? Less chance of being caught if it was dark and the threat that hung over you was asleep.  I don’t know about that; I slept in my own bed last night, with my baby and my husband.

But you made them walk for miles before you reached the first border.  Those children will be shattered.  They will be hungry.  You gave them the last food you had when you got into the truck.  You should have been more careful with your food and drink, there was always a chance it would run out before you got where you needed to go.  Don’t you know, children need nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day if they are to be healthy and develop into healthy, intelligent adults? Those chocolate bars you saved are not going to be sufficiently nutritious as a meal in the morning.

What’s that you say? You saved them because you will need to keep the children quiet when you get into the next truck? You’ll need to stop them from crying from hunger pangs as you don’t want to be caught? You grabbed whatever you could when the last bomb went off on your street? What else were you supposed to do, there was no other food? They came for your husband? I wouldn’t know about that; we had chilli con carne with boiled rice last night.  We had lots leftover so I put them in the fridge for today for when my husband gets back from work.

You didn’t even pack any toys for them.  Your little boy has his teddy and the baby has her blanket, but don’t you think they will need more stimulation?  Children need a variety of stimuli to help them learn through play.  They don’t need expensive electronic toys, but they definitely need more than what you brought with you.  They need to be kept engaged and stimulated to help them to develop cognitively.  They need to have fun, after all they’re children. You’ll have to make do with talking to them lots instead and try to increase their vocabulary on the journey; perhaps make up some games and songs to make it more fun.

Sorry, speak up? It was more important to grab food and supplies than toys?  You forgot in your haste? You’re embarrassed to tell me these are all the toys that your children have since your family home was destroyed?  You can’t talk to them, you have to keep them quiet? The group you’re with says it’s safer to travel in silence, especially when the truck gets checked at the border? Especially when you board a precariously balanced boat in the middle of the night? Especially when you’re trying to sneak under a fence, through razor sharp wire? What are you supposed to do to keep your children happy? You want to turn it all into a game but you don’t know how?  I really can’t help you there I’m afraid; you see, my child has lots of toys, plenty of educational materials and cuddly animals, but she also plays with my things; often I sit and play with her and we make up songs and stories.  I’d like to believe she’s quite happy playing with me; I have lots of imagination sat on the floor of our living room.

Whatever were you thinking? That truck doesn’t seem very safe.  There seem to be an awful lot of people in there. It’ll be terribly dark with the doors closed. The blackness might engulf you all, opening up and swallowing your children in its toothless ebony mouth.  What were you thinking? That dinghy doesn’t look very stable, especially in the ocean.  And those life jackets on the children won’t stay inflated for long.  The water seems treacherous and icy, lapping greedily at the sides of your tiny vessel.  It’s biding its time, waiting for you, wanting you; you can see it licking its lips, licking the sides of your inflatable hotel, waiting for a taste. What exactly were you thinking? There is no shelter beyond that barbed wire; it’s just an open field.  It’s just more running, picking up the children, running, dragging them with you, running.  The border guards pushing you back with their riot shields won’t know about your children underfoot; they won’t know about the baby as she clings to you, screaming.  What were you thinking?

What are you saying? I can’t hear you, you’ll have to speak up.  You didn’t know what else to do? You were desperate? It wasn’t safe where you were? The threat of death clung to you all, threatening to snatch you, so you grabbed whatever was precious and ran? It wasn’t safe so you ran? It wasn’t safe on land so you took to a cramped truck, an open field, a tiny boat balanced precariously on a greedy ocean? I wouldn’t know about any of that; you see, my child is napping while I type this letter to you, on the sofa, next to me, perfectly safe.  I might even cover her with her blanket to make her more comfortable.

You really must speak up, I’m struggling to hear you.  I’m struggling to hear you through the blackness of that truck, through the gaping hole of that ebony mouth that seems to have swallowed you.  I can’t quite make out what you’re saying while you are pushed against that riot shield, the crowd surging like a tide behind you, forcing you forward though you don’t want it, squeezing your children.  I’m straining to hear you from the salivating lips of that greedy ocean, licking you up, like a gourmet meal, spitting you out.

There you are: washed up on the shore, wet and bloated. There are your children peacefully blue from the icy lips of the water.  I can’t hear you, but there you all are.

306 thoughts on “A Letter from One Mother to Another

  1. Pingback: A Letter from One Mother to Another | Out Beyond Our Ideas

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  3. Reblogged this on Memorabilia and commented:
    Day 2 – know thy neighbors tasks at #blogging101. I’m a couple f days late for the day 2 assignment but I’d read this blog post previously. Oh. my. gosh. I had tears in my eyes when i read this. beautifully written and you should read this. trust me. if you are mother, then definitely, you should read this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear, beautifully written, touched my heart. I’m reblogging this on my site sunayana18.wordpress.com
    I think the real plight of mothers, children and men cannot be captured in words/photos but with your post, i can only imagine how difficult it would be for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: A Letter from One Mother to Another | Don't cry for me !!!

  6. Migrants go back and fight…why should the world sacrifice lives when you’re all cowards who only seek hand outs, sympathy, and welfare ! The US chose to stand up and fight Hitler and Japan..why the can’t you ???

    Liked by 1 person

    • What an uninformed and unintelligent response. Plenty of Syrians have been fighting back, but there’s a limit to what they can do when they have Assad’s government forces bombing them on one side and also have to contend with ISIS fighters.
      The U.S. ‘chose’ to stand up to Hitler and Japan well after the world did, and only joined the Allied forces following the attack on Pearl Harbour – 2 years after WW2 started – so don’t make out like they’re some kind of exemplar. You also write some guff on your blog about the U.S. saving Iraq, which belies complete ignorance about the region and American involvement there. The U.S. Invaded Iraq in order to secure oil rights there, everything else was circumstantial and served only to underpin their ability to do that. Saving Iraq never came into it.
      These people aren’t migrants, they’re refugees fleeing a situation that they can no longer exist under, just as many Jews did during WW2. Educate yourself before making spurious claims about what people should or shouldn’t do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • And you obviously have a problem with your grammar. You + are = you’re.

        Unfortunately it’s always better to abstain from commenting when one is so ill-informed about events. Anyway, my post was nothing to do with American foreign policy and everything to do with my own personal response to ridiculous comments about refugees, made online, by those of your ilk.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Your lack of compassion for another is soul shattering. You must have had an awfully cushy life to be so indifferent and cruel. Perhaps you’d like to try to walk 5 miles in that mother’s shoes? Perhaps you’d like ro volunteer to fight the war in her place?

        Liked by 1 person

      • For your info jerk I’m a viet war vet and have had amythimg but a cushy life. I’ve been homeless twice and had to fight to keep a roof over my head and i know hunger well. They choose to run rather tjan fight and want the world to shed blood and die in their place. The sryian army comsists of only as just. reported because they all ran. So please pull your head out of where the sun don’t shine before you attempt to criticize someone next time

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ad Hominem attacks, the last refuge of those who lack the intellectual capacity to respond. I note you glossed over the actual details of what I’d written rather than attempting to reply with a counter-argument. That’s because there’s no substance to what you’re saying, only bluster.

        And for the record, I have no idea who Kim Davis is. I’m from the other side of the pond to you. You know, the place where we’re actually dealing with refugees coming to our shores and trying to help them rather than demonise them.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Smallface btw I’m a war vet and l know firsthand the tragedies of war you may be across the pond but if you you would like criticize someone address Israel who refuses to help the refugees after all the world has done for that country. Explain why the hell the jews think they are better than anyone else.

        Liked by 1 person

      • If you’re a U.S. War veteran then to be fair you know more about inflicting the tragedies of war on others, because the U.S. hasn’t invaded a country in recent history without it being about cementing monetary gain. The vacuums and instability arising out of Iraq and other places in the area has directly contributed to the refugee crisis that is happening now.

        As for Israel, they serve no one’s purpose but their own and are another monster that the U.S. has helped create and continues to support through millions of dollars of funding daily. They should be taking in refugees but won’t, and they’ll get away with it because they have the backing of the Senate and because of the strength of the Zionist lobby there. If the U.S. stopped funding their terror and stopped using its power of veto to protect Israel in the UN, things would start to change. Instead, scum like Netenyahu work their way before your Senate, humiliate your President, and everyone applauds and loves him for it.

        Liked by 3 people

  7. Pingback: Reblogged: A Letter from One Mother to Another | jenn plays recorder

  8. Pingback: A Letter from One Mother to Another | Smithy 3333

  9. The position of the reader, it seemed, is to, at first, be so angry/annoyed with the author berating this struggling mother. I was so uncomfortable with the demeanor.
    As a person who grew up with migrant workers all around me, who I call family, who are family, I was so bitter towards this author.
    Then, it dawned on me. This is not an attack on the people and their desire to find a better life. A safer life. A richer life. The mothers, and their hope to find a place where their children, and hopefully their children’s children, will rise and flourish.
    It’s the exact opposite. And as I realized that, my eyes filled with tears and my heart became so heavy.
    I am so drained.
    I’m sharing this.
    I hope you don’t mind.
    People need to read this.
    Thank you.
    – Tomás

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Pingback: A Letter from One Mother to Another | BIENaija

  11. Pingback: A Letter from One Mother to Another | CaramelButterfly

  12. Pingback: A Letter from One Mother to Another to read  | johnsondm538

  13. I revisited this post again and scrolling through the comments, it still astounds me how some people are reluctant to comprehend, even after the writer has gone to exhaustive lengths to clarify for those that misunderstood.
    Even those with no reply after she clarified might be so decent as to apologise, agree or at least thank her for the clarification but no, like shrapnel beneath skin, their comments remain as if to say they are far above from having their egos bruised and instead rather leave the remnants of their decay floating around.
    I though bloggers are meant to be people who read, write, comprehend and feel more, alas, it’s turning into another form of erosive social media.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: ThemeBOX | On the Run: Blogging the European Refugee Crisis

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