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My Days With The Refugees In Calais, France

On the forecourt of Liverpool Street station in London sits a memorial to the “Children of the Kindertransport”. The plaque says it is in thanks for the 10,000 unaccompanied, mainly Jewish children who were allowed to escape to England shortly before World War II.  The look on the children’s faces is one of grim determination, pain and suffering and in spite of all that a sense of profound personal dignity. We all know what happened subsequently to those left behind. Millions of people died particularly children.  Eli Wiesel talks about being haunted by the small frightened face of his beloved seven-year-old sister as she, with her mother, was separated off by the Nazis from him and his dad to what we eventually learned was her death. World War II was such a horror we hoped we would never see it’s like again. Ironically, World War I before that was supposed to be the war to end all wars. Racism, bigotry, extreme nationalism, we all know what that leads to: – war, death, pain and suffering. Yet we let it happen! We sit by and let it happen!  Like Pontius Pilate we sit on our hands and let it happen. Perhaps one reason we let it happen is because we don’t go out and stare that suffering in the face. We prefer to stay at home, read the newspapers or watch television and, out of our comfortable circumstances, make comments. Full of our own problems, we don’t want to look any further. Others prefer the abdication option. That is to ‘leave it to our leaders’, assuming they will do the...

Every kid should be able to read a Christmas card

We all love to receive Christmas cards. The messages of love written inside give us a warm sense of belonging, especially when they come from our kids. But imagine if that didn’t happen. Imagine if a child was unable to write or even read a Christmas card. It’s a heartbreaking reality that is going to happen countless thousands of times this Christmas. Thankfully, my Bill Crews Charitable Trust is working to improve the situation! We’re rolling out a brand new phonics-based literacy program for the poorest and most disadvantaged kids in Australia. I’m sure you know that being able to read is more important than ever for children today. In the past there were certain manual jobs that didn’t require literacy, but they have disappeared in this computer age. Now being able to read isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity of life. So you might expect no child would leave primary school illiterate. Sadly, that is not the case. For a variety of reasons some kids miss out. Maybe their home life has been chaotic. Maybe extreme poverty or illness has meant long absences from school. Perhaps English was a second language. Or maybe a child’s brain has simply been wired differently, meaning learning to read is like trying to program a computer without an instruction book. Whatever the reason the other children in the class move ahead and these kids are left behind. For over 25 years I have been striving to help these children. In fact more than 3,500 of them have been taught to read thanks to our programs. We are always looking for better ways to teach the...

Host your own Rev. Bill Crews Xmas Day Lunch

Was great to have my mate Karl Stefanovic visit us to see how we’re planning to feed thousands of hungry and needy people on Christmas Day. Do you want to host a ‘Rev. Bill Crews Xmas Day Lunch’ of your own in 2019? Simply click here to tells us where you’d like to host it and fill in your contact details. We’ll get back to you as soon as we...

Clash, the movie

Rev. Bill Crews’ Big Picture Film Festival is holding a special screening of the acclaimed movie, Clash. Event Cinemas | 525 George Street | Sydney, NSW 2000 | Australia Wednesday, 14 November from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm (AEDT) $24.00 pp (includes a small popcorn) Click here to get your tickets. Set entirely within the confines of a police van, Clash dramatises the ongoing political unrest in Egypt two years after the Arab Spring. It’s 2013 and mass protests have led to the ouster of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood by the army. A series of arrests finds rival demonstrators trapped in a paddy wagon together under the threat of impossibly stifling heat. From this simple setup, a white-knuckled tale of resistance and shared humanity is woven that artfully evokes the political fault lines in the Arab world’s most populous nation. Get your tickets...

My speech in support of the Kurdish people – 10th Feb, 2018

I regard myself as an ordinary Australian. Nothing more and nothing less. I do not regard myself as left-wing or right-wing, nor am I a member of any political party. I am an Australian and proud of it. Being Australian and probably because of our beginnings being rooted in prisons, chains and the lash I firmly believe in freedom of the individual. That is freedom to be who we are, believe what we believe as long as it brings no harm to anyone else. However, my life has taught me that there is always some bugger trying to take your freedom away. There is always some tin pot despot wanting to make you conform to what they regard as the way to be. They want you to toe their line and if you don’t they will try to punish or destroy you.  This may be religiously, politically socially but often it’s not the way most of us want to be.  In other words, they want to impose on us ways of life we don’t necessarily want to take up.  We are quite happy to live by the code of “Don’t do anything to anyone else you wouldn’t want done to you”. To achieve these aims, despots use fear in all forms of threats, armies, walls and structures they regard as strong, brutal, impregnable and forceful. But the smell of freedom is like love, it’s like the wind. The wind blows where it blows. It blows through the windows of buildings; through the cracks in and over the walls and in the hearts many of those who hold the weapons....

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...