What has happened to our Humanity??
'Between 1938 and 1939, a large-scale British humanitarian operation brought 10,000 mostly Jewish children fleeing Hitler’s growing threat from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia to safe homes in the UK. '
That's what I read in the Guardian this morning, from an article about the daughter of the man Nicholas Winton who brought over 669 children from refugee camps in Cechoslovakia BEFORE the Second World War. Not during, not after but before it started. His daughter is pleading with Britain to open their hearts to the people who need help right now across Europe. Barbara Winton is calling on the compassion and warmth that British people showed prior to the Second World War. You can read the full article here https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/oct/29/kindertransport-heros-daughter-urges-uk-to-welcome-calais-refugees
I then read and watched another article showing the Calais camp burning, refugees being handled with tear gas and riot shields and get angry. Not just a little angry, really angry.
I was angry the previous week where papers like the Express and Daily mail cleverly engineered articles to spread further fear throughout the British public regarding the young men coming here who have a right to be here with their families. Had that first bus been filled with small rosy cheeked 8yr olds we would of been furious that we weren't bringing them all over immediately. But no they only showed images of young men and played on the fears that we had an invasion of potential terrorists. Sorry but if you walked a large part of a journey across continents at 14yrs old your going to appear worn and older. And let's face the harsh reality that the smaller weaker children likely just didn't make it. I wonder how many deaths litter that journey. I don't think any of us can comprehend the challenges these young men have faced, I applaud them for having the determination to get here in the first place. I have no doubt that these young men will be beyond grateful to have the opportunity to safety, an education and to be the best versions of themselves. I have no doubt that just like the immigrants and refugees before them they will be contributing members of our society.
Of course the bus of women and children who arrived a couple of days later barely got any coverage whatsoever.
I am furious about the whole situation, in fact my fury is so big I don't where to direct it. Syria, the refugees, unaccompanied children??? How has this happened? We are Britain, there is a reason people want to come here and be a part of our society. Yet here we are hiding behind a fear of terrorism.
Terrorism is the repercussions of an Ideology. It is dotted throughout history. It's not new but it has been cleverly dressed up for us in modern times, as a brand new threat to our way of life. We must be fearful and suspicious. Any single person sat in desolate conditions on our countries border is a potential threat.
What we are forgetting is that there has to be a reason for someone to turn to an Ideology, to become radicalised. I remember Morgan Freeman speaking with an ex Islamic Extremist (who now by the way spends his life preventing radicalisation) he was from Birmingham and had suffered racial abuse within the community, mental and physical abuse. He was an easy vulnerable target for the people who radicalised him. My point? Hate breeds hate. Simple. Compassion, warmth, empathy and love will open the doors to a better version of humanity.
We are all so capable of it. The refugees we brought over between 1938-39 all became integrated within British life. They contributed and bettered themselves. They went on to be teachers, doctors, nurses. Why? Because they were shown that someone cared about them. They were treated as human beings and not expected to live in conditions I wouldn't expect an animal to suffer. People are the product of their environment and experience. If we don't help them, if no one helps these people then we have just handed them over to the people who will want to exploit them, to radicalise them.
I believe we have become insular, selfish and fearful. Manipulated to be looking out for number one. Our competitiveness in our careers. YOU have to come out on top, to survive YOU have to be the best. I wonder what would happen if instead we chose to support and help others in their lives. To think outside ourselves.
To stop being fearful of people who have nothing and want only the opportunity to be safe, to better themselves and to contribute. To have purpose and acheivment, to not be considered the threat living on the border. Because if we continue to treat these people as a threat that's what they will be become.
And just for a little perspective we can look at some numbers. Immigrants to the UK have contributed £20 billion to the UK in the past 10yrs. They are 43% less likely to be out of work than a UK born person and they make up the small percentage of our population by 13%. Our NHS is propped up by non UK born citizens. These people aren't coming to abuse our benefits system, they aren't coming to steal our homes or rape, pillage and radicalise our communities. They are individuals all who have made a challenging and desperate journey to find a better life. Huge numbers of them have come from terrifying places such as Syria, Afganistan, Iraq, Lybia and Sudan.
The U.K. And Europe have had well over a year to do come up with a solution to this crisis. Instead we have watched scenes similar to that of a clearance of rats. Now 100s of people are on the streets of France with no hope or shelter. Going into winter with nothing.
And as these people disperse into the shadows of Europe with likely no future, likely to turn to crime and being exploited. People who were so desperate they were grateful for a shanty town limbo between the past they ran from and the future they will never have. As the Jungle burns and France plans to probably build something shiny and new there, paint white over the black spot of humanity that grew there we will go back to our celebrity divorce headlines, latest gadgets and Facebook status's filled with silly selfies and meme's. Grateful that the problem is 'resolved' the Jungle is gone, no longer is the threat at the door.
We don't have to be that though. We have a choice to not be fearful but to see past the headlines and the propaganda and see human beings just like you and me who need help, compassion and empathy. Our only difference is the countries we were born in.