mardi, novembre 10, 2015


"None of us get out of life alive, so be gallant, be great, be gracious, and be grateful for the opportunities you have. We don't know where we might end up, or when we might end up."
- Jake Bailey, 18-year-old student from Christchurch, New Zealand to his graduating class, after being diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma and given 3 weeks to live.
Cancer-fighting student defies doctors to deliver emotional end of year speech 
An 18-year-old student from Christchurch, New Zealand, has defied all odds to send off his school year, delivering a speech to roaring applause at his high school after being diagnosed with cancer. 
Jake Bailey, who had been given three weeks to live by doctors if he did not get treatment, took the stage at Christchurch Boys High School's Prize Giving ceremony in a wheelchair to celebrate the end of his high school career, after being released from hospital to take part in the event. 
In late October, the teen was diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma, according to New Zealand Herald, an aggressive cancer which can kill if left untreated. "They said, if you don't get any treatment within the next three weeks you're going to die. Then they told me I wouldn't be here tonight to deliver this speech," Bailey said. 
Reminiscing on the final year of high school — one of the most important times in any teenager's life — Bailey focused on commemorating his year's history, achievements and thanked his friends for all their support. He remained resolute throughout the speech, telling the hall the speech "isn't about what's to come, [but] it's about what an amazing year it's been." 
"None of us get out of life alive, so be gallant, be great, be gracious, and be grateful for the opportunities you have," Bailey said. "We don't know where we might end up, or when we might end up." 
After the emotional speech finished, Bailey's cohort banded together to perform the haka for him. "I wish you the very best in your journey, and thank you for being a part of mine," Bailey said, as he finished off his address.

dimanche, novembre 08, 2015


The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible. - Salman Rushdie

lundi, novembre 02, 2015

'home' by warsan shire

I first time the Syrian refugee crisis became real for me was listening to the BBC on my commute to work. I had just dropped off my own children at preschool, when I heard a dispatch from Lampedusa. The story left me with chills, as the journalist described the overturned boat swamped by the waves, and the ongoing search for toddlers drowned at sea.

I began to follow the crisis and months later, I sobbed when I saw a photo of what looked like my son's best friend Mateo. The precious boy had washed ashore, dead, on a beach in Turkey. His name was Aylan Kurdi.

Today, I heard this poem spoken in an impassioned plea by Benedict Cumberbatch. The poem is by the Kenyan-born Somali poet Warsan Shire. I have not been able to get her words out of my head. As a mother, as a woman, as a daughter, as a human being, you have to understand/ that no one puts their children in a boat /unless the water is safer than the land.   Here is the complete poem.
no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well 
your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back. 
you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough 
go home blacks
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off 
or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces. 
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
be hunger
forget pride
your survival is more important 
no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here