I’ve just finished reading a fabulous Michael Morpurgo book to Gerald Durrell. The Tribe have all loved reading and listening to the Morpurgo books; they are interesting, often topical and most definitely thought provoking. Our latest read however, we’ve found particularly relevant. It’s called Shadow and is the story of a young Afghan boy and his mother who after 6 years living in the UK, fail to win asylum and end up in the detention centre, Yarl’s Wood. The descriptions of life in Afghanistan and the destruction of the 6th Century Buddhas of Bamiyan give a fascinating background to the story.
It has left a mark on both of us and we have learnt a great deal. The suffering of detainees in asylum centres in the UK in the 21st Century is shocking and shameful – these people are not criminals. And yes, I know that it’s only a book, but Morpurgo always uses fact for the basis of his novels. In fact the reason he wrote Shadow was, as he says, “because I felt so passionately about the subject – the detention centres and the suffering of war”.
I frequently had a massive lump in my throat as I was reading it aloud and had to compose myself before continuing. We read it in record time as we were both keen to find out what happened next.
Given the current debate raging over immigration, I think that there’s even more reason to read this book. Perhaps we may all act with a little more compassion and kindness to everyone, including those from different countries and cultures and be a little less judgemental. I will live in hope.