We are leaving refugee children to die in the snow

The whole operation began on Calais station before the train arrived. I noticed a team of armed police arrive, followed by security types and then a policeman with a large dog on a leash. They grouped around the stairs leading up from the station platform and hesitated as though they were not sure to which platform the train was arriving. They gathered in two small groups at the top of each stairway to the two platforms each looking hesitatingly at the other and then began to lounge around waiting as people on a mission are want to do. The onlookers were slightly bemused by this, “All they’ve got to do is look at the platform indicator” someone said in French and then slunk off, not wanting to be singled out as a troublemaker. It was then I noticed not all French people like what’s going on. But they know very well to keep their thoughts to themselves. I didn’t notice the train had arrived until it was too late. Suddenly there was a flurry of activity. The two groups flowed into one and disappeared into one of the roofed stairways and emerged surrounding what looked to me like a youngish teenage boy. He was so short and thin.  He was wrapped in an overly large winter jacket with a white fur trimmed hood.  This framed his young (terribly young), dark face with two large overly darting eyes, the whites of which stood out as much as the white trim framing his small, dark face. The boy was very quiet and resigned and quietly walked within the surrounding gang who...

My Trip to Calais – January 2017 – Now the Jungle is Gone

For well over a year I have been visiting ‘The Jungle” in Calais. My blogs tell of my anguish at first hand witnessing the hardship suffered by so many who were there. They tell of me ‘coming in from the cold’ and my life forever being changed for the better by my experiences with so many of the refugees. That in turn changed so much of what I did and how I went about doing things in Ashfield and everywhere else. Through these refugees found a deep sense of connection that will forever enrich my life. These blogs tell of how I met Clare and how over time her work grew and developed into the ‘Care4Calais’ organisation she now runs. My previous blogs were entitled 7th October, 2016 http://billcrews.org/site/my-trip-to-the-jungle-walking-with-the-refugees-on-wednesday-7th-october-2015/ 12th October, 2016 http://billcrews.org/site/visiting-the-jungle-calais-for-the-second-time-this-needs-to-be-read-in-in-conjunction-with-my-earlier-blog-of-12th-october-2015-called-my-trip-to-the-jungle-walking-with-th/ 27th October, 2016 http://billcrews.org/site/clearing-jungle-calais-france/ In January 2017 I visited Calais again to see for myself what had actually happened there during and after the closure. As always I’ve learned to go by myself and look for myself. That is because so many vested interests have an interest in putting a spin on things and I like to see and report for myself.  I am writing this from the perspective of witnessing a train arrive and a squad of armed police with dogs and security guards swooping down on it as they seem to do with every train or bus arrival and whisk off what seemed to me to be a not very tall, skinny, late teenage, early 20’s boy; all dark face and wide eyes encased in a fur lined jacket. He was led off into a...

Taking former unknown homeless man Frank Lawlor’s ashes back to the UK

Preamble In early June 2016 a homeless nameless man died one evening at our free Loaves and Fishes free food van in Sydney’s Woolloomooloo. By early January 2017 I was returning his ashes to his family in Birmingham, England… For me, it was a very moving time to return Frank Lawlor’s ashes to his family in Birmingham. As I was on the train from Euston to Birmingham I was reflecting on why it was so important to me for all this to happen.  I was surprised at the intensity of my feelings with regard to finding his family and returning his ashes to them.  As the train sped along I thought of all those people who die alone and unacknowledged.  When we were looking for details of Frank’s life we were contacted by many, many people who thought Frank could be their father.  It struck me that for many people there is a father shaped hole in their lives.  This has often been brought out to me in our Father’s Day, Loaves and Fishes Free restaurant lunch when I give a gift to those homeless who are fathers. “Are you a father” I ask?  And often they will shuffle and say “yes”. Now I am sure many don’t have much contact with their children for good reason but then there are others who are just suffering.  I particularly remember one man showing me a photo of his baby son. “How old is he now”? I ask. “He is 23 years old” was the reply. “How long since you have seen him?”  I asked. “23 years” was the answer. So there...

The Trump victory

When I was first asked to write a comment on the election of Donald Trump to be President of the USA I thought “no” because everybody and his dog would be commenting. However, on thinking about it I thought, why not. Really, everybody knows as much as I do and I might as well say what I think. My first reaction is to say this is a victory for bastardry. I do not think it is right to denigrate people because of the colour of their skin or their sexual orientation or the physical ability. I do not think it is right to denigrate women and get away with it. I find it very sad that in a country as great and as powerful as the United States, it can only throw up a brash business tycoon and a sullied politician as candidates for a position that holds the keys for a nuclear Armageddon. We are living in tumultuous times. The world is on the move, literally. Millions of displaced people are looking for a new home because they have been driven out of theirs. Instead of finding welcoming hospitality they are finding walls, barricades and outright hostility. Economically times are changing. Governments in the face of multinational corporate wealth and influence find themselves powerless to enforce standards. Also, because today money makes money faster than work does, we find money can freely cross borders where people can’t and workers can work as hard as they can for diminishing returns. We find across the board the rich are getting richer and the poor are either staying where they are...

“Clearing” the Jungle in Calais, France

As many of you know, I have visited the refugee camp “the jungle” in Calais several times over the past twelve months. The site is a former asbestos dump on a floodplain, near the highway to England in Calais, France. I went there to see for myself what was happening there. I felt there was so much “spin” from Governments, media and NGOs that it was difficult to get a clear picture of who the refugees were and what conditions they were living in. As you know, my Bill Crews Charitable Trust, amongst other things, works with trafficked and abandoned children and I also needed to know what I could do to help. I realised it would be a difficult and potentially dangerous situation but felt that was exactly where I should be. I found human beings just like myself. People running from war and violence. I found people who actually did not exist because they had no paperwork. I found people in need of compassion and care who were bombarded by rules and stigma. I sat with them and they welcomed me in the most humbling and touching way. It is true to say they, with the warmth of the welcome, and the closeness of their hugs brought this struggling Australian “in from the cold”. It did not matter that I was of a different ethnic or religious background to them. Every person I met treated me with love, courtesy and respect. I have to say I did not find that in the Government authorities or many (not all by any means) of the locals who simply saw...

Two real life stories from my spending one day in the slums of Cambodia

A mother had to get herself deeply into debt to get her husband out of gaol. He had been trafficked  and escaped and ended up being gaoled. Now her husband could no longer work as he had been injured  in escaping the traffickers. So she was in a really bad situation. They were in real debt and had to live off her meagre part time wages. A child trafficker offered her $2,000 for her two little daughters (they were very young, indeed). She refused. What horrified her was that for a split second she saw a way out. She said that she’d never give them away, she loved them so much and feels so bad about that split second of temptation the money opened up in her. She  feels like she can never forgive herself. In the slums I noticed a little girl in a pink dress. She looked about two years old but was older. These kids always look younger than they are. She asked Andrea, a saint who I work with there, if she could go to school. She said there was real violence in the home and her mother would get regularly beaten and there would be lots of blood. She wanted to get away from the violence. She was way too young to go to school so we’re looking at other...

A follow up to my blog “In Paris remembering Charlie Hebdo………

All my efforts to contact the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo failed. Not to be outdone, though I decided I’d add some of the compost to the Memorial tree either before or after the Memorial Service. I ventured onto the site on Saturday evening but, couldn’t get near the tree for the security.   So I decided to scatter the compost around the tree roots after the Memorial Service the next day. So, on the morning of Jan 10, 2016 I stood with thousands of Parisians in the Place de la Republique for the memorial for the victims of Charlie Hebdo, The Bataclan and all such acts of terrorism in France. The ceremony was beautifully simple, short and flawless.  The sound was superb.  There was some singing and some reciting.  Johnny Hallyday sang.  The French President Francois Hollande and The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo laid a wreath. The Choir sang La Marseillaise and it was all over. Like all these things I have gone to whether in France or Australia, most people were there because they could not not be there.  There was the same silence and the same walking whilst being deep in yourself.  The same reflective mood. In fact people were so reflective, when the Marseilles was being sung, they were too within themselves to sing along, which for French people really says something! Later that evening, after it was all over, I went over to the memorial tree and scattered the compost over the roots.  I said a prayer for peace and in honour of all the victims and for all those decent Australian and French...

Visiting “The Jungle”, Calais for the second time – This needs to be read in in conjunction with my earlier blog of 12th October, 2015 called “My trip to the Jungle – Walking with the Refugees on Wednesday, 7th October, 2015”.

    I was apprehensive. How will I find it? Had it changed much? Had the attitude of the refugees there hardened? After all, three months had gone by since I was there last and the fear always was that if these refugees found themselves stuck in one place for too long with no hope over the horizon, trouble would ensue. I was therefore glad this winter there hadn’t been as cold as we feared. All these thoughts were flowing through my head as I got off the train and headed there. As I was waiting for the taxi to take me as close as it was prepared to go I began feeling quite vulnerable and stupid.  After all, several months had passed since I was there in October and during that time, many more refugees had arrived.  I’d also read the newspaper reports of trouble there, I’d also seen the reports that many goodly Calais citizens wanted those refugees gone. This wasn’t helped by my being passed by two armed gendarmes “escorting” what seemed to me to be two perfectly dressed neat, tidy and respectful young men into a Police Van. “This is the beginning of the road to The Jungle” the taxi driver told me. She really needn’t have, because just like last time, I could see all the people walking along the side road, just walking.  All with back packs, some pulling travel bags with wheels.  Some walking toward the camp and others walking away.  But what I did notice was how proudly most were walking, straight and erect.  Like I’d seen in so many African...

In Paris – Remembering Charlie Hebdo

Today, January 7, is the anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo slaughter.  I arrived in Paris yesterday with an urn of composted Martin Place flowers left at the time of the Lindt Cafe Martin Place siege. I intended to scatter some with the myriad of French flowers I fully expected to be left at the site and at The Place de la Republique today. As I wrote in my earlier blog I wanted to do this in honour of the victims, but also as a gesture of the solidarity I witnessed in the endless floral tributes, the deep reverential silence, the love and the prayers for a better world I saw expressed in spades, by the ordinary people of both cities, Sydney and Paris.  To me, that is what will link these two great cities, the love expressed, not the terror. Getting the composted flowers here was not easy. They were only released to me late on Christmas Eve and, to be honest, the contents given to me in a clear plastic bag would, to a Customs Officer look very much like Hashish. I had no doubt they would not believe they were what I told them they were! The other problem was that I was leaving for the USA pretty much straight after Christmas day and go from there to Europe, so time was of the essence. I took advice and ultimately arrived here in Paris with the material.  Exhausting!! I arrived In Paris with no idea of what I was going to do!   I found really no one could help me and remember yesterday sitting on St Pancras...

The reason I am in Paris in memory of Charlie Hebdo

I’m here in Paris now because I buried Tori Johnson of the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place after the dreadful siege there. I was also in Europe at the time of the Charlie Hebdo slaughter and went with Charles Miranda of News Ltd to pay my respects to the victims there. It was at the Memorial Service for the Lindt Cafe a couple of weeks ago that I realised I was one of the few people to have been involved in both ‘situations’. What I found so moving at both places, Martin Place and Charlie Hebdo was the mountains of flowers that literally appeared out of nowhere and the absolute silence, the so respectful silence of the onlookers/flower bringers who like the flowers appeared out of nowhere. In Sydney, this was typified for me by a young couple who I noticed.   She held a small bunch of flowers. He held her hand. As she laid the flowers, she shed a tear and he held her tenderly and comforted her. They like all the others turned up because they simply could not stay away. They came in solidarity with the victims. I noticed the same thing in Paris. What really got to me was the flowers and the absolutely reverential silence.   I’ve been part of a silence thing before but this was complete silence even with thousands there.  I have never experienced anything like it and to witness and be part of that in both Sydney and Paris was a really humbling awesome experience. The flowers left at Martin Place were composted to go into a memorial to be placed in...

What I have learned over the past few years

I now realise that I’ve spent far too much of my life ‘out in the cold’. As a child, not really bonding with my father life was tough and lonely. Consequently, much of my early years was spent never quite fitting in anywhere. Looking and feeling tempted to, but really never really getting there. Twice, I did, though. One was at the first of the so many schools I went to and the second was joining the Boy Scouts when we were living in Townsville in the late 50’s early sixties. I was devastated when I had to leave each one of them. Add being severely bullied at one school I was at and I’m sure you get the picture.  I remember, time after time being all alone with my father never being able to figure me out. “Billy, don’t be this, be that” he would say when I expressed attitudes different to his. If I didn’t want to work over the school holidays but would rather read, he would respond with “A quid (English pound note)’s your best friend” or an oblique warning about  becoming an “educated Nin-com-poop”. So, I had to learn to hide my feelings along the way. I actually smugly felt I got pretty good at it. That’s a great way to get back at everyone, eh? The trouble is, it didn’t.  The only one to suffer was me. All this “learning” was going on while I was still at school. The piece de resistance came during my early years at University. My father always held up my younger brother as an example of the way to be. Bob was everything I wasn’t. He was good at and interested in sport; wanted to work in the school holidays and so he was the apple of my dad’s eye. One night my brother was tragically killed by an alcohol-filled group of idiots racing their cars. Right away my father took down...

Some of what life has taught me in the last few years

I begin with this story:- A lovely little boy one day decided to go out and look for God. So he packed his little back pack with fairy bread sandwiches (tiny crystals of coloured sugar) and Popper Drinks (little packets of juice you puncture with a straw to drink). As he walked out the door, his mother asked him “Where are you going?” “I’m going to look for God.” he replied. He hadn’t gone more than three of four blocks when he came to a park. In the park was a seat and sitting on the seat was a little old lady just watching the pigeons. The little boy sat beside her. And the both sat there watching the pigeons. After a while, the little boy felt thirsty so he punctured a popper drink and began drinking the juice through the straw.  After another short while he noticed how thin the little old lady was and offered her a fairy bread sandwich. The little old lady accepted it with the most beautiful smile the little boy thought he had ever seen.  A little later, wanting to see that smile again, the little boy offered her a popper drink and was duly rewarded. And they sat and they sat watching the pigeons. As time passed, the little boy realised it was time to go home. So he got off the seat and began to walk home. After he’d gone a few steps, he stopped, turned and ran back to the little old lady and gave her the biggest hug imaginable and she again rewarded him with her most beautiful smile....

My trip to The Jungle – Walking with the Refugees on Wednesday, 7th October, 2015

Like many people, I have been following this European Refugee Crisis, probably closer though than most, because of my radio commitments. I have known for quite some time that I would have to be in the UK for a couple of weeks in late September, early October and so I began thinking about, from there, heading over to Europe to have a look for myself particularly by walking and being with the refugees. As this thought hardened I began to study the situation more closely, particularly  after that photo of that dear little drowned boy, his sneaker covered feet falling from beneath his blanketed body being so lovingly held by a rescuer, so moved the world.  Being who I am, I thought it would be easy to find someone who would ‘help me get over there to be with the refugees’. I should have known better! All overtures to charities in Australia seemed to come to naught. That didn’t worry me so much as I felt it would be easier in England. Well, that didn’t happen, either! What I learned in England was even more concerning. I was told, amongst other things, was of killings, raping and sexual violations of young girls etc., that snipers were also shooting some of the boy children in the legs so that they could not return one day as soldiers and fight ISiS or any other group.  I was also told that about two million refugees were expected to be in Europe by winter and if not substantially more aid was given, many would die from the cold.  It quickly began to dawn on me that this is the greatest crisis the world has experienced since World War II. I...

An American girl reaches out to me for help

For me life as a child was not an easy one. I was born in England during World War II at a time when my father was away at the war.  I was raised alone by my mother and grandmother until he returned to the family.  My Mum and Grandma often talked of standing at each end of my cot with a sheet over it to protect me from falling debris during the German bombing raids of London. My mother and grandmother ran a shop and during that time I became the golden haired boy to them and many of the shop’s regular customers. When my father returned from the war everything changed. We never really bonded and when my brother came along, with whom my father bonded closely, I always felt the one out. I never really quite fitted the image that my father had of what a son of his would be like. Consequently, much of my early years were spent with my father saying “Bill, don’t be this, be that”. I feel my mother had to make a choice between myself and my father and my father won. My family migrated to Australia when I was 3 years of age. As I grew a succession of schools followed, because my father’s employment meant my family was quite itinerant. I remember standing in school playground after playground thinking to myself “I have to make friends, all over again”. At one of the schools I was severely bullied which effectively destroyed my whole self-confidence. When my younger brother was killed in a car smash, my instant reaction was...

Life is just beginning at 70

Here I am, 70 years old and I feel my life is just beginning!  If we are the sum of all we’ve learned, experienced and suffered over the years then, this is it! I’ve been lucky, so lucky in my life. I can honestly say I am a really good and close friend of His Holiness The Dalai Lama. A link forged, I think in personal loneliness and struggle for survival. I am equally at home with the richest and most powerful in this land as I am on the streets with the poor, disabled and homeless. I can honestly say being homeless holds no fear for me as I’ve learned to survive there from some of the most honourable and ethical people I know who live there. My time spent with those on the edges of life who may be dying or in the depths of, or recovering from the personal horrors of addiction to drugs and alcohol have taught me to value each day as if it is my last and behave as such. That is to talk with people as if it is my last ever conversation with them so I don’t go to my deathbed regretting all those things I should have said but didn’t. All this has taught me a lot about honesty and love and how important and life giving they are, It’s also taught me a lot about the myths around how important possessions and wealth really are  I have learned that all we have of value is within us now. Right now, right in this very moment! It has taught me...

A night with Bangkok homeless kids

On Wednesday night, 8th July 2015, I spent the night at The Hub in Bangkok. It’s run by my Bill Crews Trust for the homeless kids of that city.  I slept there in dormitory conditions with them. We slept on stretchers. These stretchers were stored in a box in the large downstairs all purposes entrance room and, at night brought out and unpacked.  The Hub, open during the day closes for a while in the evening and then opens for the night at 9:00 pm.  Many kids hangaround outside until the doors open.  The doors are then basically kept shut throughout the whole “sleep” time because many of the kids are caught up with “gangsters” or harassed by the police.   As the kids start to come in and hang around with some coming and going, a sense of family develops.  In many ways, the youth workers are like older brothers and sisters and there’s easygoing conversations between workers and kids.   To sleep there, the kids have to do some studies or schoolwork provided by The Hub. This is provided by volunteer teachers during the day and also during the evenings.  This is the school run by the Hub so the street kids can get at least some sort of basic education, although they can get more than that if they want.  What surprised me was how keen the kids were to learn.  Within half an hour of the doors opening, kids were sitting around tables with their workbooks and the staff were helping them.  I imagine those kids were the ones who hadn’t attended “classes” during the day and were eager to sleep there. Ilya had told me...

A better world for all children

Today I was at the Graduation of our Literacy students in The Northern Territory. The students all seemed so young, innocent and beautiful!   There were two groups of students there.  One group comprised of 9 to 11 year olds and the other of 6 to 8 year olds. All in all there were about 48 students in total. The children all went through the graduation hoops of making a short speech, reading a passage from a book they liked, (the older ones) and sharing in the reading of a story (the younger ones). I’m always impressed in the confident way they do this as people believe Aboriginal Children are so shy. I made a speech and gave out the graduation certificates. Many tears were shed as child after child came forward to collect their certificate and once again confidently and a bit embarrassingly, pose with me for a photo. Afterwards, the Principal shared their life stories with me.   There were some black African children who had spent considerable time (years) in Refugee camps. One child had even witnessed his father shot dead before his very eyes! But it was the Aboriginal children’s’ stories that really got to me. One child with a sensitive face framed by black plastic-rimmed glasses had, very graciously and sensitively welcomed me to country. He was there with his sister. Their parents were addicted to drugs and had been taken to be brought up by their grandmother.  Another was a victim of domestic violence.  Another had been taken from the school for a whole term by his dysfunctional mother and had only recently returned.  Story after story was told to me...

“There’s  always someone  trying to steal our freedoms!”

I found myself saying to a couple of friends recently as we were looking at the current Australian and world situation “Life is a compromise, isn’t it?” In order to live within family, community, nations and the world we need to compromise.  However, I often find those with the least tolerance for any different thinking from theirs quickly resort to violence. This past month (June) has seen the 26th Anniversary of the ‘Tiananmen Square Massacre’, an event that stopped the world.  The most vivid images remain for me that brave young man with two shopping bags standing in front of an endless line of tanks with enough decency to not run him over.  Whenever the tank moved, he moved to stand in front of it.  He actually climbed on top of the tank and talked to the occupants.  He then climbed down and stood in front of them again, and then again.  No matter where they moved, he stood in front of them until he was bundled away. Rumour has it is that he was executed. The next image is of the students running with wounded compatriots on rickshaws, running to get help. Then there was the statue of the Goddess of Democracy that the students made.  It stood proudly in the square until the army thugs destroyed it. For over forty years I have been involved with one oppressed peoples or another.  Sometimes it is countries, sometimes it is individuals.  Just a few weeks ago the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, in its Australian leg of remembering, Australian Armenian Church members served meals to the homeless in my Exodus Foundation’s...

Reflection at Myruan Sukumaran’s Funeral

Over the years I have been heavily involved in anti death penalty campaigns. Barlow and Chambers in Malaysia, Van Nguyen in Singapore and now Chan and Sukumaran in Indonesia.It’staught me a thing or two about what is of ultimate importance in life. These lessons have been so painfully learned and are so strong that they have changed me forever. The first lesson is that redemption is real. Individuals, no matter what they do, can change but in general, society doesn’t. Society, in general is pretty unforgiving. Second, as death approaches and the closer it gets the more loving we become. In fact, in the scheme of things, love is all there is. Love encompasses, surrounds and is the beginning and end of all of us. I know that sounds strange and religious but it’s profoundly real. Yesterday, I attended Myuran Sukumuran’s funeral and the reality of his redemption was there in spades for all to see. It’s so ironic that from a prison cell in Indonesia so many lives ended up being changed and so much love was released into the world and in dying that love did not end but exploded out. Heard that before? Yes. It’s all been said over and over in many ways and in all religions yet society goes on as if it never happened at all. Yet I know it...

Chan – Sukumaran & Death: What we can learn from all of this

Yesterday, 28th April was quite a day for me.  It was a day when I saw again and again the inherent fineness and goodness in many human beings. Ironically, it was at two places where I was dealing with death. For many years I have been participating in a service, both secular and religious to honour and remember those who died whilst at work.  As you can imagine many of the suffering families turn up simply because they can’t stay away.  The service/event is very simple.  Dignitaries get up and speak and in the middle is a bit designated “religious” at which usually a Catholic priest, myself, a Jewish Rabbi and a Muslim Imam participate.  Afterwards everyone leaves a flower on the Sculpture of Remembrance.  Many leave photographs, too. What always strikes me in this service is the quiet dignity of the bereaving families who turn up.  Usually it is the wife and the children together with some extended family members.  They all sit together, tears occasionally appear on their faces and their hands seem to alternatively move from one family member’s clutch to the other. This service was especially poignant to me as I noticed a small family sitting nearby.  The mother fiercely tried to keep herself composed but the tears and grief kept showing.  She sat next to her daughter who was often behaving the same.   Beside them sat their son who would have been in their late teens.  He had on the usual curved dark glasses and you could feel him feeling “What am I doing here at this?  What do I have to do?  I...

No government help for child sex abuse victims

If you get damaged as a child, don’t ever expect the government to help. The history of government’s helping those in the most need, particularly if they are poor and vulnerable is abysmal. If it costs any money, governments are ‘out of there’.   It’s almost as if a “it didn’t happen to me, so I have no feelings for the victims” mentality operates. I’ve been pondering this for a long time.  Ever since I began working with sexually and abused runaways from institutions, both religious and state in 1970, I’ve been confronted by forces who want to keep it ‘under the carpet’ to protect the so called good name of their institutions or churches. Over time I have had my confrontations with those who knew what was going on and pushed to shut me up. One leader said to me many years ago “Bill, I know what you are saying is true, I just wish you wouldn’t keep saying it!” I always dreamed that one day the kids I worked with would get justice. Now, I’m painfully beginning to realise that they won’t. By not looking after those most vulnerable in its bailiwick, the government is allowing those churches and institutions to get away with scrambling out of a ‘prickly situation’ by offering minimum payouts and spreading maximum spin. What doubly hurts is that churches and religious institutions are complicit in this and this makes me, as a minister of a church, very, very ashamed,...

Kayla Mueller did not die in vain

When I first saw the photograph of Kayla Mueller, the young American aid-worker firstly captured by ISIS only to die in a blast somewhere, I got a real shock.  I saw the open face of a young girl who, in many ways, could have been my own daughter.  I am lucky enough to meet young people like that all the time.  I began to notice it, really with the young people who flocked to Darwin to help me teach young illiterate Aboriginal kids to read.  As the years went by I found many of them moved on to organisations like the United Nations or other groups through which they could do good for humanity. Since then I have met countless young people in Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, England, the United States and Australia committed to making this world a better place. What I found was in many ways each and every one did their own good thing on their own.  They did it not for recognition or fame but simply out of concern for their fellow human beings.  What I also noticed was how much of this work went unrecognised. In fact it moved me so much, I have wanted to present all those that I come across with a pure glass angel with huge wings.  I remember seeing the film “Michael”, which starred John Travolta as an angel and he hid beneath a huge coat covering his large wings.  I thought a glass statuette, about a foot high with huge wings, would be a way of acknowledging the good work all these young people did. Of course, in...

A plea for clemency for Andrew Chan & Myuran Sukumaran

Sometime this month (February)  Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran will be led out of their gaol cells and onto a plane.  The plane will fly somewhere and land.  They will then be placed on a boat to sail somewhere where the execution will take place.  They will stand up, sit down or lie down and be shot by firing squad. How cold blooded and merciless is that!  In typical public service fashion everything will be meticulously documented and then filed away.  No compassion, just cold blooded bureaucratic state killing. “Why does it matter?” you might ask. It matters because every human being on this earth counts.  If we create a state killing system how can we ever define ourselves as true human beings? We know both Sukumaran and Chan have changed.  My guess is the sheer terror of the death penalty forced them to look at themselves and realise what they had become. When they looked, what they saw were two people who thought money could solve all their problems.  What they learned was it isn’t money that makes life better, its relationships. What we have learned is that Chan and Sukumaran have become assets to society.  The world will not be a better place for their passing.  It will be a better place for their remaining in it. To say “they did the crime – they deserve the penalty” is a mindless simplification of the complexity of human beings.  I am learning that the death penalty is not really there to deter criminals (it doesn’t) but to make the righteous feel more righteous as they lie in their...

Welcome to www.billcrewstv.org

I have found the telling of stories to be a powerful way of bringing people together and motivating them to make change, either in themselves personally or for other individuals or communities. The telling of stories, I have found to be a profoundly spiritual act.  They link us to our common humanity and lift us outside ourselves into a realm of new possibilities.   In this age of economic rationalism, care for the lost and abandoned has diminished and I hope these stories, in a small way, redress the balance. I would love your feedback about this website as it is you the viewers who will make it all happen and keep it alive.  God Bless...