The CEO of World Vision Australia, the Rev Tim Costello, recently invited Richard Flanagan and Ben Quilty to visit Lebanon, Greece, and Serbia, and so to see (and smell, and taste, and hear … and feel) first hand something of the Syrian refugee crisis. It was a smart move.
Richard wrote up something of that experience for the Guardian. (Apparently, a fuller account is coming. I very much look forward to reading it.) And then earlier this week, he was interviewed by Richard Fidler. The interview is deeply moving, and witnesses to the paradoxes of the human condition – from the deep grace of human hospitality and of hope’s desperate determinations, to our ugliest forms of opportunism, both economic (the story of the
life death-jackets was outrageous) and political – the disgrace of using refugees (and other already-vulnerable persons, for that matter) as political bargaining chips rather than leaning unreservedly into fuller implications of the fact that, in Flanagan’s words, ‘that terrible river of the wretched and the damned flowing through Europe is my family. And there is no time in the future in which they might be helped. The only time we have is now’.
You can listen to the interview here.
[Image: Lynsey Addario/Guardian]