I am not a number…

….but today I was. Number two, in fact. Not the one I would have picked, as it happens, but there was no choice. I was not the only number two in the school. I encountered a few others. There were also number ones and fours and tens. There were numbers in the hundreds and even the thousands.

The whole school lost their identity for the day. It was returned to them at the end of the school day. For the duration of their time in school everyone was identified by a number.

The aim was to allow everyone to recognise the importance of our sense of identity. It was done to highlight Articles 7 and 8 of the UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Article 7 (Registration, name, nationality, care): All children have the right to a legally registered name, officially recognised by the government. Children have the right to a nationality (to belong to a country). Children also have the right to know and, as far as possible, to be cared for by their parents.

Article 8 (Preservation of identity): Children have the right to an identity – an official record of who they are. Governments should respect children’s right to a name, a nationality and family ties.

When I heard this was going to happen last week I had an uncomfortable feeling. I didn’t know that I felt so strongly about my name. Yeah, I correct people when they spell it wrongly. An e at the end of Ann, if you please. And a hyphen between Anne and Marie. I know! But maybe we all feel a bit particular about our names. I’ve always liked mine. Never really wished to be called anything else.

I wasn’t really happy at the idea. And it was a very weird experience today being called, ‘Number Two’ or ‘Please Miss, Number Two’.

I hated calling the kids by a number. And I don’t even know all their names yet as this is a new school for me and I’m in and out of so many classes I might meet almost every child in the course of the week. It should have made it easier just being able to say the number that was on their badge. But it reminded me of people being branded with symbols to identify who they were. It made me think of how awful it must be for people who don’t know their true identity or who have forgotten it. Or who have had it removed. It did make me realise how important our sense of identity is to ourselves and that a name as well as nationality are vital in retaining it.

It’s not an experience I would care to repeat. But, I’m glad in a lot of ways that the children and the adults had the opportunity to see what it felt like to be nameless. A very simple right but one, if revoked, has huge implications on how we feel about ourselves and who we are.

There will be lots of discussion tomorrow.

 

This is well after the fact for this DP challenge. But hey ho! It just happened to link in with this post. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/writing-challenge-names/#more-70813

 

Follow, Follow, We Will Follow……dah, dah, dah

Numbers are a funny thing with only ten small digits.

0 up to number 9, attached to little widgets,

Reflecting much but not at all

For though they disappear,

It doesn’t mean an alien

Has suddenly appeared

And grabbed all people by their neck

And whisked them clean away,

I’m sure these lovely people are

Still at work or play.

 

It reminds me of when bankers said

That money had all gone.

Well, that can’t be true. Who’d burn it

Or why? They’d be stupid or forlorn.

The only answer I can see

For both, if there’s a reason,

Is someone’s hidden sacks and hoards

And plans on open season

For festive days with others’ stuff.

It makes me sick,

I’ve had enough

Of little games that people play

Or programs that

Go weird, astray.

 

I’m not too fretful of the ‘follows’,

No doubt it will be sorted.

I’m more concerned with politics

And how truth is so aborted.

Jiggling numbers nought to ten

Counting up then down again.

 

Looking for an honest one

A political superhero

Instead we get a load of rot.

We’re forced back down to zero.

I’ve said it once,

I’ll say it twice.

People don’t just melt

But, lucre? Well that’s different

You get the cards you’re dealt.

How sad to say that fiscal goals

And elaborate accounting

Destroy the truth and hope for some,

Leave honest citizens doubting.

 

Just to finish, let me say

If I’ve followed you before

And it looks like I’ve abandoned you

I’ll come knocking at your door.

Fickle, not is in my plan

But then that’s only me

I never really learned to count

Much more than up to three.

One for good, two for bad

And three, somewhere between.

All the rest is calculus

Not my forte, you will glean.

Place value I can understand

And find it fascinating,

But lying politicians, bankers,

These I find disgracing.

Just sayin’. 🙂