Updated: May 26, 2021
Home - and what it is - has been on my mind because of the events in Sheikh Jarrah. The other thing that's been making me think about this is another long-term situation, which is our involvement in attacks on civilian homes through our arms industry. We sell weapons to Israel (which uses them against Palestinian homes), Saudi Arabia (which uses them against Yemeni homes), and Turkey (which uses them against Kurdish homes). Parts of these weapons are made here in Scotland.
We all have equal need of a home that's safe and pleasant. None of us deserves less than another. But still we bomb our brothers and sisters out of their homes, or try to evict them.
I hope and pray for equality in Israel.
I've written a poem about 'home' below.
Above: 1949 woodcut engraving by John O'Connor
I am a door you can close
that will stay closed, unless you choose to open it.
A place to welcome friends: your guests.
In winter, warmth. In summer: a tap above a sink that splashes
light and birdsong through the open window,
a tree where children play.
I am the faces of all the people you ever loved.
I am here for everyone, I don’t
the ones who came first,
the ones who only just arrived.
All I care for, is how you help
others to have their home. No-one
gets to say, that I am not for others.
Everyone may sleep; everyone may breathe;
everyone may have their home.
If I am just for you, then what you embrace
is not me, but some new idea -
and I am outside, looking in.
You are not in your home,
if I am just for you, but in prison.
Home is where you live, and where
your neighbour will be brought in,
with more than your permission.
Home is the strength that is in you
to protect the home of your enemy
must have their place of rest, of peace.
Every woman and man must rest:
know that the door they have closed
will not open, against their will;
and every man and woman must know
here is a place they can be safe to give.