One story was about an Iraqi man who made the dangerous journey with his family across Europe to escape his war-torn country, after his restaurants had been bombed for a second time. His pop-up restaurant in London is proving highly popular: his smiley face in The Guardian said it all.
Another article concerned a small hilltop town in Italy; its inhabitants were leaving to work in the cities, with the obvious consequences. Recently, a group of refugees has been welcomed to the town; new businesses have opened up, bringing new life to the area.
The media item that prompted today’s blog in the first place was a BBC Radio 4 programme presented by the writer A L Kennedy. In it, we hear the voice of Mark Oakley, the Chancellor or St Paul’s. He had been to Dresden to preach. The taxi driver who took him to the station at the end of his visit asked him what he had been doing in Dresden. Mr Oakley explained and also said that he had been thinking about his grandfather who went on a bombing raid to Dresden on the 14th of February 1945.
After a period of silence, the taxi driver said that was the night his mother was killed in the air raids. The driver pulled over, switched off the engine, turned to his passenger and said, “And now you and I shake hands.” The taxi driver wouldn’t let Mr Oakley pay for the journey when they reached the railway station. He said to Mr Oakley, “You and I will remember this day for the rest of our lives. We must be loyal to the future, not to the past.”
What struck me about Mark Oakley’s account is that a cataclysmic (macro) event that took place during the Second World War had been distilled into a handshake and powerful words, a significant micro event if you will.