Thursday, 10 September 2015

When the World Needed to Show Some Humanity

Disclaimer: In a slight twist to my usual posts, I feel strongly about the migrant crisis and I feel I'd be actively ignoring an alarming issue by writing something trifling on how to avoid a hangover.  This article is just my opinion and is in no way right - please do comment if you feel the same way or want to dispute any of the points raised.

The recent refugee dilemma means that thousands of civilians are flocking to Europe in search for a better life. This year alone 448,000 people applied for Asylum in Europe; out of that 448,000, 25,000 applied for the UK, 188,000 applied in Germany, but Sweden surprisingly had 8 applicants per 1,000 citizens. (Source: BBC) These staggering numbers and a certain scaremongering by the media made people sceptical about allowing more migrants and made me in particular, shocked at the state of our society that we have such little sympathy for other human beings.

I can completely understand there is an economic strain on resources and even though Britain increased the overseas aid budget by an extra £1 billion, we can at least give these people some temporary refuge or transport while a long-term solution can be found. No, these people aren't looking to exploit benefits or take your jobs - they're just looking for a place to live without fighting for their own lives. They hear about a country in which they're not likely to be gunned down or bombed in their own homes and risk everything to travel on perilous European shores only to be told they're a burden and aren't welcome.  Who are we to condemn these people when their only crime is to have been born in a war-torn country? This is why it bemuses me that David Cameron was so bold as to announce that Britain was to accept no refugees, only to revoke that statement when the public were outraged due to the recent photo of young Aylan Kurdi. What happened to Britain's compassion and why did it take the single most powerful image of a young boy's body washed up on a beach to instil some empathy in people? Why does it have to be SO bad before we put our foot down?

It's a sad case when it takes such an extreme image (which I won't show for obvious reasons) to finally make us say 'well, the buck stops here!'. It makes one think, are we this de-sensitised to scenes of turmoil and struggle that it takes a corpse to evoke feeling? It's no wonder, when the news is filled with distressing scenes of terrorist activity one minute and teen suicide the next, followed by a weather update and cheeky banter in the studio. News is fleeting; people's hardships are presented as fleeting, but what we must remember is that this is a long, hard struggle and not something that can be easily switched off.

After the outrage, people are now offering their own homes to refugees as hashtag #refugeeswelcome trends on Twitter, but is it too little too late? Don't get me wrong, I think it's brilliant that an effort is being made because it's a lot better than nothing at all, but the fact that it took hundreds of thousands of deaths before we took a stand means that as a society we let things get to an absolute breaking point before we realise we should probably make an effort. It's a shame when morals we teach our children like 'put yourself in the other person's shoes' seem to be lost on our adults when they complain of the influx of migrants coming over and don't recognise their struggle. What these events teach us is that we should be grateful for what we have and to the multicultural people who enrich our society, despite whatever spin the media wants to take on it.


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