Thursday, 7 February 2013

Blind eyes

"It's too easy to turn a blind eye to the suffering of the people you don't know."

From the Star Trek film, Insurrection.

It often strikes me as funny - not the ha ha kind but the strange - that people are far too prone to interfering for no reason, yet, when there is a reason, they ignore suffering.

I find the ineffable and incalculable damage that schools and LAs can do particularly puzzling. They've shown that their type of education is, in a large amount of cases, unfit for purpose; they cannot control the difficulties that arise from so many young people being shoe-horned into a restrictive institutional setting (e.g. bullying). Yet they insist - some of the LAs but not all - on 'monitoring' home educators. Many years ago now, when the LA was pleased to make an appointment with my family to discuss our educational provision (that of my husband and myself), the two Education Welfare Officers were thirty minutes late.

My children were pacing the floor, anticipating they didn't know what. They had enough information to know that EWO workers could, if they deemed it necessary, send them back to the torture chamber that school had become for them. They knew they were under scrutiny (something they didn't like; they're not the 'fame' types of people) and they would be judged.

They were frightened because they were alert to possibilities.

The EWOs were, as I said, late.

As it turned out, the visit was mainly with H. and I. My children said "Hello" to the EWOs as the council workers stepped inside, and my youngsters walked out to go to their grandmother's house to get her new recalcitrant microwave oven working.

The LA visit was tedious but relatively painless because H. believes in giving and giving and giving even more and so he went through every strand of every possible subject in glowing colour and in depth. Great depth. The greatest depth.

They wriggled. They hid yawns. They were unflatteringly keen to shoot out of the door.

But the stress, although over for the time being, had been severe. The anticipation of what they might/would/could/should say had us - H and I - in little pieces, even though we knew we were 'all right' and we 'had it covered' you just cannot ever control the random elements when you introduce 'schooly' people to the people of the home based education.

Those particular EWOs have long since moved on to other jobs. But the memory of that day still has the ability to lash, and sting. It still hurts that we, with all our care and love, not they, are the ones to be judged and 'monitored'.

As I quoted before, "It's too easy to turn a blind eye to the suffering of the people you don't know."

Of course, I could mention the many cases in this country of where that saying can be applied as well. The ill people, disabled folk, ordinary beings who have fallen on hard times and get no real help, no proper support, from the state, from society. We are fond of coating everything in words, and believing that words are enough. We ignore and turn our backs on real suffering of real people, deserving or undeserving. We shrug our shoulders and roll our eyes when we should act.

"It's too easy to turn a blind eye to the suffering of the people you don't know."

It is much harder to understand and forgive. It is easier to put aside people's suffering, to not understand it, to think ourselves above it. When we will become the community, the society, we have the ability to be? When will we rise to the levels we should attain?


No comments:

Post a Comment