Category Archives: Emigration

Aleppo 54 years ago … and now?

A family with two young children leave Syria, travelling through Turkey to Europe.

In 1962, Humphrey and Helga traveled through Syria with a 7 month old & a two year old in a transit van, returning home from Jordan to Germany & the UK. Not a journey to be undertaken willingly now, yet many such families have to attempt it, fleeing unwillingly.

Roman road Syria, somewhere between Aleppo and the Turkish border, 8 June 1962
Roman road Syria, somewhere between Aleppo and the Turkish border, 8 June 1962
Aleppo Citadel, 8 June 1962
Aleppo Citadel as seen by the Fishers, 8 June 1962 – also the top picture in this post.

The sights meeting the Fishers eyes contrast with those we see in our newspapers.

Today, thousands of families are hoping to flee before it is too late for them too, as shown in the  Guardian’s photo-essay of Eastern Aleppo as pro-Assad forces move in (15 Dec 2016). The final picture shows damage around the citadel site seen from the air (Photograph: Omar Sanadiki/Reuters)

These villages on the Fisher’s journey may be some of the places people flee through today. Here is something small we can do – try and get every country in the world to protest to prevent more massacre in Aleppo: click on Avaaz’s petition

Syrian village between Aleppo and the Turkish Border, 8 June 1962
Syrian village between Aleppo and the Turkish Border, 8 June 1962

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the whole world is Scottish on Hogmanay …

Well, a slight exaggeration, but Auld Lang Syne brings the words of the poet Burns to millions across the globe, linking hands in global solidarity.

hands
From ‘Capital of Scotland’, given to visitors to Edinburgh in 1942

Burns, along with Schiller and Goethe in Gemamy, was one of the first poets to think that  ‘a man’s a man for aye that’,

 That Man to Man, the world o’er,
Shall brothers be for a’ that.

writing at the same time as the French revolution, 10 years before the setting of ‘War and Peace’ currently showing on the BBC. and 10 years after Schiller’s poem Ode to Joy spoke of the brotherhood and unity of all mankind

Written large in the hearts of the Scottish  diaspora, sentiments such as

Here’s a health to them that’s awa’, …   May tyrants and tyranny tine in the mist…    ‘There’s nae ever fear’d that the truth would be hear’d,  But they the truth would indite  

became associated with Scotland all round the world, not least in the  hearts of the Fisher and Gibson descendants of the couple who left for New Zealand straight after their wedding went to New Zealand later that century, and proudly remembered their Scottish roots. Allan Fisher, Humphrey’s father, could wax lyrical about the contribution of the Scots to New Zealand,  Australia and South  Africa, as in this letter from his colleague H J Paton in 1968:

scotland letter short

It would be intriguing to know exactly what Allan wrote in his own account, which must have been part of a letter commenting on Paton’s book ‘The Claim of Scotland’.

The picture of linked hands above is from a booklet found in the Fisher family archives. Many of its sentiments are typical in showing how the Scots viewed their role in the world. From the foreword: ‘As Lord Provost of this city in wartime, [the book is to] bring together, permanently, those men and women of many nations who throng the streets of this ancient Capital … may it help forward the greater cause of friendship among all Cities and all the Peoples of the World’.

capital.jpg

The choice of languages to translate into,  and the translations into  Russian and Polish from the W.V.S. Allies Information Bureau, give an interesting insight those nations most represented in Edinburgh in WWII.

picture

text 4 languages.jpg

Today we still yearn for the ‘greater cause of friendship among all Cities and all the Peoples of the World’.