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Senators and children

And they [folk in Judea, Israel AD 33] were bringing children to him [Jesus Christ] that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant…..         Mark 10: 13-14


Don’t cause me grief!” The word “indignant” (above) in the original Greek is aganakteo: agan = much; achtaos = grief.


“Don’t cause me much grief by rebuking, by telling off, people who wish to bring children to me.” That might well have been Jesus’ words.


What’s that got to do with Jersey’s Senatorial elections on 15 October?


Most Jersey folk – all perhaps – would never support a Senator who was not concerned about children. But few people – very few – know about a large piece of ground at the Reclamation Site – amongst the rubbish.


In this hidden area there are children – and their parents. They live on a £1 coin per month - each. There are 11,000 of them in all (not at the last count because no one goes there to count them).


But the saddest thing of all is the children themselves: at least 5 of them die each month there at La Collette because they don’t have enough food.


Fortunately for us Jersey folk, very few of us see this happen – most of us 91,000 people don’t go there.


[Statistics from UN FAO and other sources: 800 million of the world’s 6,700 million suffer malnutrition and live on less than £1 a month – that’s 12%; 12% of Jersey’s 91,000 = 11,000; 5 million children die of hunger every year – that’s 0.075% of the world’s population; 0.075% of Jersey’s population is 68.]


The Jersey Evening Post has asked the Senatorial candidates a key question – and published the answers: “Should Jersey aim to meet the UN recommendation of giving 0.7% of its gross national income (£23.8m in 2007) in overseas aid?” What did the candidates say? Please look.


It has been decided (on my behalf) that Jersey folk (like me) could not afford (self-interest?) to give at this level in the past. An accumulation of unmarked child (and adult) graves are there at the Reclamation Site.


Did self-interest (the desire to be popular, to be elected) also hold any of the candidates firmly in its grip? Did any prefer to leave 11,000 (non-voters) at the Reclamation Site suffering malnutrition and disease?


What about those who are standing for re-election? Did any of them opt for "charity begins at home" instead of expressing concern about the 5 deaths per month of starving children at the Reclamation Site? So as to be re-elected? Yes, some did – so as to please self-interested me and get my vote.


Are we all to remain captive to self-interest forever? Perhaps we haven’t “seen” our chains? Worse, perhaps we aren’t able to free ourselves? Maybe we can’t see those chains because we are all wilfully blind when near the Reclamation Site and that wilful blindness precludes real sight of the plight of anyone, even ourselves? Can I not see the end toxicity?


The disciples of Jesus Christ (above) were also blind. They “rebuked” the dear folk who wished to bring their children to be touched and blessed by Jesus Christ. The original Greek is a word of strong disapproval - by “Christians”.

How could these disciples of Jesus behave like that – and actually block parents and children coming near Jesus Christ?


Well, if I say anything about him to parents and children I will lose face by it. For self-interest’s sake, better to say nothing – or talk only (if pressed) about “God” or “church”. For self-interest’s sake don’t tell children and parents about Jesus of Nazareth who rose from the dead.

‘I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat” (Jesus Christ AD 30, before feeding 5,000)
‘Do not labour for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.’ (Jesus Christ, AD 32, before he gave himself for others)
Richard Syvret

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