Yes, they can, and we will!

My acting class with Jeanette Brox McCarthy went past the 8:30 pm 2-hour schedule and finished at 23:00! What passion! It seems I can do the acting bit, but have problems remembering my lines. So homework to do on that front before next week when we get filmed. It may have something to do with my short-term memory, which will need some jolting in learning off by heart. Strategies needed. The workshop has shown me how difficult it is to be a good actor, but it has opened my mind to the possibilities of character, and that is good for my writing.

There was also a lovely write up in the Wiener Zeitung about our wine workshop last May, and my flash fiction piece, “Lest We Forget” won this week’s contest at AdHoc Fiction. I’m so happy about this since it alluded to the refugee crisis and the Hungarian response.

Another thing I’m so happy about is that my dear Schubis at our latest uni conference on the history of education set up a collection box and encouraged delegates to contribute to the work of the Train of Hope at the main station. That’s where volunteers welcome refugees night and day and give them food and drink and soap and tend to their blisters and give them all sorts of support, including legal and translation, and even entertain the children, plus lots more. And here are some tips on how we can help locally.

In all walks of life, people are reaching out: the Austrian football team, artists and writers, singers, ordinary people like you and me, and even companies and business people.

Greg McQueen, who organised the charity anthology, “100 Stories for Haiti,” is now organising an anthology for the refugees. You can contribute to the project in a variety of ways. Just get the word out.

With a bit of thinking out of the box, anything you do can help. So, I’m convinced that an agenda that doesn’t in some way help the refugees is not an agenda worth talking about. A friend said to me today, ah, to each his own. But it is all our own now. Just sensitising our neighbours can already make a difference. It’s more than the latest “big” thing. There are implications for you and me and our children and grandchildren.

Consider that in Europe the population is ageing and that migrants, many of them with good skills, can really contribute to our common wellbeing. Their children can learn in a safe environment and contribute to an enlightened society. By reaching out and practicing humanity and decency, we can stem the fear of the unknown. History has taught us the lesson of exclusion, but we have to retain that lesson and move forwards not backwards. The rampant tribalism all over the world can be stemmed. We just have to provide a nurturing environment. My faith is in the young, the volunteers, people who think outside the box, those who sincerely believe they can make a difference. Because they can. And they will.