It’s about time we changed our perspective on refugees and immigrants

Photo by: Leigh Blackall

I would say its funny how some in the UK are quick to blame immigrants and refugees for the country’s economic issues. But in all honesty there is no humor to be found in the matter. When I was watching the Gianfranco Rosi epic documentary ‘Fire at sea’. It really put things in perspective for me. A lot of immigrants are risking their lives with barely any chance of survival to find a better life elsewhere. For women and children to leave their homes and set off to a foreign country, leaving their family and friends behind something has to be really wrong.

I am an migrant myself so unsurprisingly this is a matter I feel so deeply about. My mother came to the UK when I was only 5 years old. She left my sister and I to find a better life for us, which can be expected from any parent. She had just lost her husband and during the time of her departure her life was under threat. In 2001 Zimbabwe was having one of its first major oppositions against the dictator Robert Mugabe. During that time the teachers union was fighting strongly for a better democracy and a better quality of life for the nation as a whole. My mother was one of those people in opposition to Mugabe’s rule. As a result Mr Mugabe saw this as a direct threat to his power in office, so the culling of teachers nationwide began. Houses where raided, individuals were stoned to deaths on streets in broad daylight. Looking at the situation in Syria right now I would say the situation is the same or even worse because of the number of people involved.

Information from the World Bank reveals that in 2013 Syria had a population of nearly 23 million people. However two years prior in 2011 the Syrian Policy of police research revealed that 470 thousand Syrians had died as a result of the conflict; which is the equivalent of losing everyone in Manchester. A further 1 million people where also injured in the civil war. When we begrudgingly address the million illegals in this country, it is as if we do not care about the lives of half a million taken before their time. Mercy corps reported that there are currently 7.6 internally displaced people in Syria. Just to bring it back home to highlight the gravity of the issue, this would be the same as the whole of London being out of a home and having to move to a different area due to conflict. It gives me chills picturing a scene as morbid as this. Adding insult to injury a further 5 million refugees are spread out, outside the country.

Source: The Telegraph

These are desperate people in need of a helping hand. They are not plotting to come to the UK with a plot to abuse the benefit system and take all your jobs. If anything I would argue to say they do not receive nearly as much support, as they require. According to GOV.UK the asylum support given to a refugee is £36.95 per week, considering the average household spends £70 weekly on food alone according to the money advice services. With a £36.95 allowance, is barely enough for a weekly shop let alone providing transport and recreational use. Pregnant women receive a bit more allowance, however an addition of just £3 is far from acceptable

Source: GOV.UK

The UK is set to receive 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020. It is imperative that we changed our views and ideology towards these immigrants as they have suffered enough. It is inhuman to welcome these individuals with hate and hostility. If the shoe were on the other foot, it could be you, me your family split because of war. Having to travel thousands of miles to find security and shelter upon arrival you are not only unwelcome but you are detested for having the guts to even ask for help. This would not sit right by my, I would like to think this statement is true to you too. From now, I say we change our attitudes towards immigration and refugees.

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