Over the past couple of days we’ve all seen the harrowing photographs of Aylan Kurdi: a little boy of three years old and probably no more than three feet tall. Wearing a red t-shirt and blue shorts, he was washed up on the Turkish shores as he attempted to reach sanctuary with his mother and five year old brother. A toddler, the same age as my nephew. An age at which innocence is personified. He should’ve been carefree and happy, running around kicking a ball in the park like a normal child. Not face down, soaking wet, both lungs filled with water. It’s horrific and incomprehensible to me.
As it’s been made crystal clear in the newspapers, the UK is doing much less than other EU members for refugees like Aylan and I find that to be extremely shameful. David Cameron was supposedly “deeply moved” by the photos, well pull your finger out and do something about it then, you’re a dad, where’s your heart? You’re also the PM, you have the power to make a difference, use it. Not that Hungary’s PM Obran is much better. Closing Budapest’s train station and passing the entire refugee crisis off as a “German problem” is such a cop-out. Where is their sense of humanity? What kind of heartless people have been elected to run entire countries!
Yes, of course the affluent Arab countries should be first in line to be offering their help, but being a British citizen, my issue is with the UK. Why are we shying away from responsibility? We have a moral duty to help the Syrian refugees, Cameron knows that as well as we do. The UK needs to pull its weight like the other EU members and offer sanctuary to tens of thousands of vulnerable refugees. Contrary to popular British belief, we do have the space and we do have the resources. So far Germany has taken in over 35,000 Syrians, Canada has more than 10,000 and the UK has provided homes for a whopping 200. I think that those figures say it all.
It needs to be an equal effort, no country should be taking on more or less refugees than others. Even countries outside of Europe such as the US and Australia should be doing their bit. This is a WORLD crisis, meaning that everybody needs to help, for the sake of humanity. World leaders need to put their heads together and figure out a way to mitigate the problem from its source in the Middle East. There needs to be a change and a long-term solution must be implemented, or we’ll continue to see photos of kids like Aylan everywhere we turn. I don’t know about you, but I for one can’t bear the thought of that.
The issues of benefits, jobs and overcrowding that so many reluctant British citizens refer to, should not overshadow the fact that these helpless people just want to be able to live. Is that really too much to ask for? We’re all so fortunate, sitting in our detached houses on our comfy sofas, drinking cups of tea and watching the News on our flat-screen TVs. And then we switch the channel and act as if it’s such an unfortunate crisis, but it has nothing to do with us. It has everything to do with us. We’re all humans, we have that link that ties us together, regardless of race, creed or colour.
Put yourself in their shoes for a minute, I know that it’s hard but try. How would you feel if you had to up and leave your country, the place that you called home, because of warfare and corruption, factors that are way beyond your control. You’d been torn from the majority of your family, probably witnessed a few of them die in front of your eyes, you’d been stripped of your security and everything that you ever knew. But you had hope. The hope of a far off land where you’d finally be safe, where the remainder of your family would be safe, and you dreamt of that miraculous place day and night. Somehow you managed to edge closer to it, moving heaven and earth to stay alive, constantly watching your back, but you finally got there, filled with nothing but hope. And that magical place told you NO. They refused you entry and told you to go back to the hell that you came from, because you weren’t their responsibility. Their doors were closed for you. How would you feel?
These refugees risk absolutely everything for just the hope of attaining a better life, can you imagine being that desperate for something? I can’t. Most of us will never be able to comprehend how it feels to be so vulnerable and powerless. 2,500 migrants have lost their lives crossing the Mediterranean to get to Europe so far and that number will continue to increase by the thousands if the world powers continue to sit around a table and scratch their heads. We need action.
Until then I’ll be keeping these poor souls in my prayers.