The issue of refugees seems to be quite the nation divider. People appear vehemently for or vehemently against those seeking asylum in our country.
It’s something I find painfully impossible to get my head around. The fact that those fleeing war-torn countries might be turned away. I can’t understand how anyone could look at the picture of a man clutching his child and crying, and make the decision not to help. Or see the heart-wrenching image of three-year-old Alan Kurdi, lying face down on a beach, drowned in the fear that made his family flee, the gentle shore lapping at his lifeless body, and decide not to offer sanctuary.
This idea that we have to ‘look after our own first’, is profoundly ignorant. For who are ‘our own’? Are we not all of the same human race? We are humans, fundamentally the same.
Picture a world in which Britain, our little spit of land, for which we seem to be very proud of, begins to sink beneath the ever-rising sea. Imagine a world in which Hitler won the war and England becomes a war zone. You go hungry, terrified to leave your house in fear of being shot. You watch as your children waste away for lack of bread or milk or water. And finally, your child is ripped from your arms. Starved to death, or taken in the night by a bomb that kills her but not you. You decide to take your remaining child away from the destruction and chaos. You have no choice. You take nothing but the two of you and a lock of your dead baby’s hair and the ring you gave your wife on your wedding day. It fell off her before she passed away, he fingers shrunk to twigs, the hunger became too much and she withered to nothing one afternoon as you held her in your arms.
You take your child in the night, risk death and capture, to the shores of Hull for this tiny chance you might escape. You make it through a perilous journey, the sea too choppy, many drown, but you hold tight to your little bundle of bones. Many die of thirst, there is no food for days. Finally, you see a light at the end of the tunnel. The shores of Morocco. They will see you and they will welcome you into their arms. You have nothing left, and you sob with relief as you clutch you child to you.
But when you get to the shore, there are men with guns. They wear severe uniforms and have stern faces. They turn you away. They tell you, ‘if you don’t break the law and come here without a visa, then of course you will be welcome. We know what you wish to do, you want to steal our benefits, scrounge off our system.’ Their eyes are narrowed at you and you feel all the fight drift out of your body. You child has been still for a day now and as your boat drifts back into the ominous ocean, you fall backwards into the water and bob in the inky water, your child pressed against you as you wait for death.
This, this, is the reality for the refugees landing on our shores today. This is the life they are fleeing. If they had any other option, I’m sure they would take it. They don’t want to take your job, or your money, or anything from you, but your kindness and compassion.
My heart breaks for a nation poisoned by the words in papers such as The Daily Mail and The Sun. I am deeply saddened to be part of a country that won’t do more for those suffering on the shores of our waters.
Where are the All Lives Matter crusaders? If all lives truly matter, where are your shouts and pleas at the unequivocal injustices happening in our world? Was it just an agenda that suited you at the time or will you speak out as strongly about the deaths of thousands of children as you did when a statue fell to the ground?