World away from the credit crunch

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Opinion - by Steve Con­sta­ble

IF THEY ever strapped me into a chair in Room 101, I think the tor­ture of choice would be chil­dren danc­ing. Per­haps it’s be­cause I’m the fa­ther of a great big sports-watch­ing, beer-swill­ing young man, that I find that the thought of gawky, gap-toothed grin­ning lit­tle girls, in tu­tus and tiaras, pranc­ing nim­bly to the tune of the Su­gar Plum Fairy, sets my skin crawl­ing like scor­pi­ons on a chalk­board. But when your dear­est friend goes to enor­mous ef­fort to stage a worth­while fund-rais­ing show, loy­alty over­rides squeamish­ness, and you grit your teeth and think of how your suf­fer­ing is in such a good cause. Even­tu­ally, of course, you find your­self slowly beginning to marvel at the co-or­di­na­tion, ath­leti­cism, en­ergy, en­thu­si­asm and team-work which goes into dance, which puts to shame your own fee­ble, fum­ble­footed ef­forts at Mon­day night salsa, not to men­tion re­cent per­for­mances put in by the play­ers at Spurs. The cause in ques­tion was Trust Sulha, an or­gan­i­sa­tion which sup­ports a school for Afghan refugee chil­dren in Pak­istan, with the slo­gan “Peace Through Ed­u­ca­tion”. And it puts the credit crunch into per­spec­tive when you hear an Afghan woman de­scrib­ing how she fled po­lit­i­cal per­se­cu­tion by trekking across moun­tains with three chil­dren, where the only mort­gage cri­sis was find­ing a rock or bush to shel­ter un­der. In the early stages of our own fi­nan­cial melt­down it was easy to mock the get-rich-quick bri­gade, and didn’t we think they had it com­ing to them (es­pe­cially when Manch­ester United shirt spon­sor AIG was one of the in­sti­tu­tions hav­ing to be bailed out). But as the bank­ing sys­tem be­gan to col­lapse we re­alised we were all stand­ing un­der­neath it and the ma­sonry was fall­ing on our heads, and Manch­ester United were al­ready boast­ing they could get more money from some­body else. Com­par­isons with the plight of Afghan refugees aren’t much com­fort when it’s your job un­der threat, but I sup­pose at times like this it doesn’t hurt to be re­minded that we can be grate­ful just to have a room of our own in which to find shel­ter. Even if it does feel, at the mo­ment, a bit like Room 101.

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