Mercer's Poems
Wishing Well

In case you did not know, I am a follower of football - or Soccer as some of you may call it. Recently, during an FA Cup game between Bolton and Tottenham Hotspur, Bolton player Fabrice Muamba collapsed on pitch and had a cardiac arrest. If not for the hurried intervention of the medical teams - and a cardiac specialist who happened to be in the crowd - Fabrice may have died on pitch, and I believe on television. 

Since then, however, there has been a disproportionate response to the health of one man. Fabrice is still in critical condition, though stable, and it is understandable that he should have people concerned about him. But why is the Premier League and all its teams, fans, workers and supporters fawning over one man who happens to be lucky, successful and reasonably well off - when at the same time in this country the healthcare system is having its demise and privatisation plotted? When there are individuals - even in the Western, supposedly wealthy, civilised world - who cannot afford good healthcare? Who are collapsing and dying on a daily basis. When there are injustices in the world that leads to the persecution, oppression and deaths of young people in many countries? Where are the signs, the headlines, the front and back newspaper pages - for these individuals? 

As much as I wish Muamba well, as a fellow human being - I feel the response from the public has been somewhat bangwagonish and incredibly vulgar. In a world where innocent young people are dying every day BECAUSE OF OUR COUNTRIES how can we value one footballer’s life thus? How can we devote so much time, attention and publicity to this man when there are others dying all around the world whose stories go untold, unheard, uncared for. These are not footballers, movie stars, pop stars or people in the limelight. These are people just like you. People just trying to get by in their lives. People who suffer as you do with the struggle of everyday life. People who never got a lucky break and live having trouble making ends meet. Some of these people live in abject poverty and yet are exploited by our nations and by certain charities within them. All of these people have just as much value as Fabrice Muamba, but do not get heard. Some of them do not suffer unfortunate medical emergencies - but are killed by the hands of people we have the nerve to call ‘heroes’ - Innocent people. We do not hear their stories - They do not get shot in front of us. They do not suffer on our TV screens at an FA Cup game, so we do not hear about them and nor do we want to, for their suffering would interrupt our own comfort. 

I wish Fabrice Muamba well, and hope his recovery continues. But we, as a society, must realise that just because it does not unfold before our eyes - it does not mean it does not happen. We must recognise that others are suffering too - others are dying too and they need just as much attention as Fabrice, indeed they need more! We must realise the value of our healthcare systems, and how they should be freely and fairly provided for all - and fight to save our NHS as well as fight to provide access to healthcare for people worldwide! 

We must have perspective, and equality. Fabrice is a fellow human being in suffering - for that we must have respect. But he was also lucky, and has the means to help himself. He has fantastic support and great friends and family. Some people do not. Some suffer alone. Some have no friends and family. Some have no support. They must just struggle. These people need our love, our support, our publicity.