MP's column

Every year, here in West Cornwall, I learn about a group of friends or neighbours who are putting on a meal or get together to provide some Christmas cheer and company for people who are on their own. These acts of kindness are what makes our communities great. I’m sure every Member of Parliament has reason to be proud of their constituency but I’m sure none have as much as I.

Even after nearly five years as the MP I still find myself pinching myself to check that all this is real. I’ve not lost any of the sense of honour and privilege that comes with the task. In every email I receive, even those from people opposed to my position or view, I see a commitment and passion for the area and our future which is encouraging and reassuring. As we enjoy this Christmas I know that all over West Cornwall and Scilly people are caring for and looking out for others and will carry on doing so as we enter 2020. 

Not long before the General Election kicked off I met Syrian filmmaker, Waad al-Kateab, at a viewing in Parliament of her deeply disturbing documentary ‘For Sama’.

Waad recorded this documentary which tells the story of her life in the rebel-held city of Aleppo through five years of the Syrian uprising.

To describe the documentary as bitter-sweet is a complete injustice but I can’t find words to fully describe how love and hope seems to prevail even in the most horrific of circumstances. 

Much of the live footage is taken in a hospital in 2016, when the city was under attack by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

Waad is a Syrian filmmaker who falls in love with her friend who works as a doctor in a Syrian hospital. They go on to have a daughter Sama and all this in the most appalling environment and danger. 

They choose to stay to provide what medical help they can and to record the conflict hoping that the world would see the horror and intervene to stop al-Assad’s brutality towards his own people. We didn’t (not effectively). 

All of us should see this footage. I found it deeply upsetting but I am left inspired by the love and hope that is present even in the worst of human experience. Christmas is a time to reunite, give and receive, rest and relax. It is also a reminder that love and hope always seem to endure and I hope that this Christmas and in the year to come, love and hope are things that all of us can experience and all of us can share.