The global community is witnessing – or is involved in the biggest mass exodus and movement of refugees from modern day war-torn countries since World War 2. All of these fleeing human beings have unshakable faith and desperate hope to simply to be safe and migrate to our western countries, and yes, we really can afford to support them. Yet, the western world looks away, in the most colossally destructive, compassionately redundant, heartbreaking way. The cringe inducing phrase ‘Not In My Back Yard’ is back, bigger and fiercer than ever. The NIMBY’s who self-censor their own view of the difficult to watch TV news reports: “oh why must they put this on during our dinner. It really does put me off eating.” They live among us, from every socioeconomic background, every faith, every family, every village, town, city, country. They’re everywhere, and it’s starting to feel like it’s becoming everyone. This must not happen. We need to heal our hearts of the hardness, educate our stale & engrained viewpoints and be aware of journalistic misinformation. We can all do more, and it only starts with one.
The photo above shows a Syrian mother trying to hold her baby, engulfed by a life jacket after swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, all the while holding her little boys head above the water for gulps of air, before mercifully being rescued. Tens of thousands more do not make it.
Imagine this is your little boy – he’s no different to any 8 year old anywhere.
According to the UN, the vast majority of refugees have fled from Syria, where an estimated 220,000 to more than 300,000 people have been killed during its appalling and escalating war. The lack of compassion from many westerners that have been dumbed-down by xenophobic narratives in the mainstream media has been appalling. For once in your life, think for yourself! These people are human beings, our brothers and sisters who are in a perilous and desperate situation (largely caused by imperialism) that require urgent assistance!!
Refugees don’t hide their taxes in the Cayman Islands; Refugees don’t privatise the National Health Service; Refugees don’t influence government cuts to spending; And Refugees don’t scrape together their life savings, leave their loved ones behind, bribe and fight and struggle their way onto the undercarriage of a train, or into a tiny hidden compartment of a lorry with forty other people, watch their friends and loved ones die or get raped, all for the express purpose of bragging about earning £67.46 a week.
Imagine waking your children in the morning, feeding and dressing them, pulling a little girl’s hair into a ponytail, arguing with a little boy about which pair of shoes he wants to wear. Now imagine, as you are doing that, you know later today you will strap their vulnerable bodies into enveloping life jackets and take them with you in a rubber dinghy – through waters which have claimed many who have done the same. Think of the story you’d have to tell to reassure them. Think of trying to make it fun. Consider the emotional strength needed to smile at them and conceal your fear.
Try and envisage how it would feel like when that experience – your frantic flight from war – was then diminished by a vicious, dishonest media that crudely labelled you and your family “migrants,” as if you were a scourge on society. Imagine having little to no voice in countering this description of you so commonly used by governments and journalists.
[photo credit: Associated Press (before editing)]