Thursday, 3 September 2015

A human problem that deserves a human response

I've had enough.

I've had enough of humans.

Humans that live in their cosy little houses, with their cosy little western life, with their 2.4 children and their parents round the corner who are living on to a ripe old age.

Humans whose main concern for their children is whether they're in the correct catchment area for their preferred school.

Humans who have never lived in a warzone.

Never witnessed a murder, let alone a mass murder. Let alone the mass murder of their own relatives. Friends.

Humans who have never had to leave behind their homes, families, careers, communities and possessions while they flee for their lives, not knowing whether their families or friends made it. Not knowing whether they died amid the chaos, or perished en route.

Humans who have never had to pretend to their children that they were going on an exciting adventure rather than embarking on a perilous journey where only the lucky survive and the only alternative is guaranteed death.

Humans who have never had to face the choice of which child to save from drowning as they float amidst a sea of bodies - their rubber dinghy capsized because they were not alone in deciding it was a safer bet to put their lives into the hands of human traffickers than stay home and hope for survival.

It's these humans who seem to think they're qualified to judge, qualified to pass comment. It's these humans who declare that the migrants are coming here for a comfortable life on benefits, who brandish them a blight upon society, criminals, thugs, a swarm of beasts.

But it's these humans who have never walked a mile in their shoes - let alone trekked across nations to reach an unknown destination.

I fail to believe that ANY mother would put their child's life at risk in the way that we see day after day, unless they were utterly convinced it was the best option. I fail to see how ANY person would attempt to cross the channel under a lorry unless they were in a state of absolute desperation.

I don't care whether you think they should stay in the first 'safe' country they find. I don't care whether you think they use illegal means or violent means. The fact is, they are humans.

I've seen the comments: 'I hope they all drown', 'why not just send them all into the tunnel and then send the trains through.'. Are you serious? The fact that you even think this crap suggests to me that these refugees are more human than you! How dare you place less value upon a fellow human being because of their refugee status?!

People are dying!

People need help!

People are desperate!

This is a complex problem, in complex times. Nothing is black and white. But it is not a political problem. It is not a religious problem. It is not a societal problem. It is not a racial problem.

It is a HUMAN problem.

And for that, it deserves a HUMAN response.

So, may I plead with you, to think before you speak. Think about the fact that these are individual lives. Individual stories. They are somebody's mother, father, brother, nephew, son, daughter. They had lives. They had educations. They had careers, and families, and homes. They were happy until their lives were turned upside down by war, conflict, genocide, terrorism. We cannot begin to fathom how desperate they are, that they honestly thought that they stood a better chance as a refugee than in their homeland (and while we're on that point, please educate yourself on the difference between a migrant and a refugee).

I live in Kent - the gateway to Europe. I see the effects that illegal immigration has on our communities, on our council budgets, on our road system (hello, operation stack!). I have seen videos of immigrants climbing out of lorries just down the road from where I live.

Am I angry? No.

I'm heartbroken. 

My heart hurts for these people. My heart hurts for their grief, their broken and dispersed families, for the fact that they may never find out what became of their relatives and homes. My heart hurts for those who have perished along the way. Europe has a lot to learn, our government has a lot to learn. Nobody has an instant solution or a magic wand to make this go away.

But in the mean time, let's have a bit of compassion.

And if you can, allow that compassion to move you to action.

History will judge us for our inaction.

Here's a great initiative you can support, run by an everyday person who saw the need and decided to do something about it:

You can also email your MP here.

Share this blog post or any other articles you find which highlight the human plight of the refugee crisis.

Read this interview with Dawn O Porter on how you can get involved.

If you want to shift your focus to Greece then check out this page.

Save The Children are running a Crisis Appeal here.

This article in the Telegraph includes a box at the bottom with five ways you can make a difference - including volunteering your home as temporary accommodation.

Know of any other initiatives of note? Let me know and I'll continue to update with links so everyone can find ways to act.


  1. Well said Emily! I couldn't agree more. These poor people could as easily be us, our families, our friends. They need help and it's our responsibility as humans to give it in any way we can.

    1. Thanks Colette, I am awestruck by some people's responses - especially as we are experiencing the effects of it and we are faced with these awful pictures every day. I just wish we could be a little more human about it.

  2. YES! Punches air. Thank you, thank you, thank you! When I stuck my post up on this today, I was a bit worried. Then I saw #pocolo and you'd posted on the same thing and it's made me feel so happy. Together, we can move mountains. Or Cameron ;)

    1. Thank you! Yes, I am always nervous about wading into political debate on my blog as I know it divides opinion and I do not claim to be an expert on the political context of these issues - but some things need to be said and I feel like today a tide turned and many people decided to stick their heads out and speak up for those people who don't have a voice. I hope just it makes a difference! Am off to read your post!

  3. So awesome of your to write this. I am so speechless with what is going on too =(

    1. Thank you. It doesn't feel awesome, it feels ridiculous that we even have to voice our opinions on doing the right thing. However on some issues remaining silent just isn't an option. I just hope many more people have the courage to speak up for humanity!

  4. Completely well-said - I don't believe that anyone would put their family at risk unless they were absolutely desperate. A great post. thanks for linking to #PoCoLo x

  5. Very well said Emily, some of the responses I've seen have been horrific.


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