Wednesday, 16 July 2014


While working as a journalist, I used to write about the effect of conflict on women and children. I was an international editor for Marie Claire magazine UK and at the time we did some ground breaking features which were often picked up by the mainstream press - (eg the  effect of the UN sanctions on Iraqi women). 

But times changed, and a new editor arrived with her Gucci handbag and Versaci jeans. When I approached her with what I thought was a particularly interesting a story concerning women in West Africa, she said that she was no longer doing 'worthy' stories and that unless a celebrity was involved she wasnt interested. As I couldn't drag Angelina Jolie along with me, I didnt get the commission. Another story, involving women in Afghanistan who were setting fire to themselves in protest against the Taliban, was turned down by a Sunday newspaper magazine because "people wouldnt want to read about this while having breakfast." .

I dont know if you are having breakfast while looking at this picture, and I am sorry if it upsets you, but the destruction of Syria  has been going on for too long, and maybe the media needs to print more pics like this if people are to put pressure on their governments.  We need to fully understand the trauma of Syrian people, and sometimes only a photograph can do this. We need to understand why they are leaving in their thousands and what they have witnessed and lost. 

Refugees are not warmly received in any country (although Sweden  briefly opened its arms to Syrians) but until we realise the truth of the full horror of the stories that refugees  bring to our countries, we will never be welcoming hosts, and the pressure on butcher governments
will remain as lax as ever.