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BBC Radio 4:Dr Anna Rowlands - 03/02/2018

In a second-hand bookshop last weekend I came across a worn copy of an old, orange-covered penguin book. Published to mark World Refugee Year in 1960, its opening line reads: ‘Refugees are people who vote with their feet’. Its pages contain interviews with the last inhabitants of Europe’s post-war camps. The charcoal-drawn portraits show groups of Assyrian women sitting, babies on laps, on the streets of Greece. A survivor of a Siberian coalmine sits in a bare room in Salzburg, a crucifix hanging on the wall above her. A Yugoslav teenager laments that she came across the mountains in the snow and thought she would die on the journey, - she made it but was then abandoned by her boyfriend. Each face looks 20 years beyond his or her age. It shocks me that 15 years after the war people were still living in formal camps, in woods and derelict buildings, in informal hosting arrangements. Their faces and words communicate that deadening sense of what should be contradictory for a human being: a sense of simultaneous stasis and yet impermanence, a sense that nothing changes but that nothing lasts. It’s difficult not to feel that that history - so strange and distant to most of us - has come back to Europe. We are again becoming a continent of camps and detention centres, of displaced people living in woods and disused buildings, crossing seas and snowy mountain routes by night. The fears and tensions can spill over and explode as we saw in Calais yesterday. Once again some express unease about the impact of migration on their communities, whilst what is often feared by those displaced is fruitless immobility. Simone Weil - herself a refugee and writer on Christianity - wrote of what she called ‘uprootedness’. She wasn't just talking about refugees. Simone Weil was talking about something she believes we share: the need for roots, and the grief we feel when roots are denied us. We gain roots through being part of the creative life of real communities, warts and all. Simone Weil saw that society is an activity not a ‘thing’. It’s no surprise that migrants in Calais built makeshift cafes, churches, mosques and schools. A community preserves memory and holds hopes for the future. From a Christian point of view, this is what prayer does, from a social point of view this is what culture, art, decent work and political action does. Simone Weil warned that Europe was marked increasingly by what uproots: by models of work and consumption that pull against what it takes to build a common, public life. This condition of uprootedness is perhaps most visible in the refugee ‘who votes with their feet’, but we deceive ourselves, says Weil, if we do not see that it is our condition too. 来自:VOA英语网 文章地址: http://www.tingvoa.com/18/02/BBC-Radio-4-Dr-Anna-Rowlands-03-02-2018.html