Monday, 24 April 2006

Silently closing her bedroom door

The BBC website has just published a feature on Wandering Scribe, and there is currently a link prominently featured on the BBC News homepage.

I've talked about WS here before, but I really think it is an excellent blog - it is beautifully written and often tremendously moving. More than that though, Wandering Scribe is a voice from a place where we don't often hear voices. I hope that the exposure will have at least two effects:

1) That it will help WS get back on her feet

2) That it casts the spotlight onto a whole group of people who are currently not doing so well in Blair's Britain.

Even if the blog is a fake (and I don't think it is) then the second point is surely worth making anyway, isn't it? After she was interviewed by the New York Times the other week, WS finally caved in and put a paypal button onto her blog to enable people to leave personal donations. This simple act put her in something of a dilemma: clearly any money that was donated could make a real difference to her quality of life and might set her on the way to escaping from her car and in to proper accommodation. On the other hand, WS clearly saw it as a personal defeat; an acceptance that she was in trouble and needed outside help. It was a big hit on her self-esteem, and you can see from her posts that the presence of that button is weighing on her mind.

That button also put me in something of a dilemma: I donate to the homeless charity Shelter every month directly out of my salary. Should I also give some money directly to Wandering Scribe? I'd clearly like to help her out, but I can't help everyone can I? Should I donate to WS simply because I read her blog?

It's something I'm still wrestling with.

You can see from the number of comments on her most recent post that the exposure on the BBC has already driven a huge amount of traffic to Wandering Scribe's blog (145 and counting). Sadly, the publicity seems to have been a double-edged sword, and lots of the comments are from trolls. It makes me sick to the pit of my stomach that idiots like these anonymously fire abuse at anyone, nevermind someone who may be vulnerable.

People can be such arseholes.

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