The real crisis isn’t a refugee crisis …

… it is a crisis of compassion.

We British deceive ourselves with the mantra that we have a proud tradition of helping strangers when in fact the reverse is true – especially recently.

We are like Pilot, who allowed his policy making to be swayed inhumanely by the shouting of a raucous crowd.

Our almost total disregard and homicidal complicity with the suffering of refugees is similar, and no less culpable, to our attitude to slavery over a hundred years ago.

Britain, as the fourth wealthiest country in the world, could lead the way now with its example of compassion and mercy.

Only then could we be justifiably proud.


7 thoughts on “The real crisis isn’t a refugee crisis …

  1. Well said, Wyon; you draw some poignant analogies.
    If I were you I’d add statistics; the number of asylum seekers in relation to the total UK population. This might help those who wonder whether “opening the gates” would affect their personal comforts.
    Another analogy which might resound would be to compare the UK attitude to these poor people to that of the Germans of Hitler’s time when they were persuaded that the Jews were worthless beings if even human. There are so many ways to manifest bigotry.
    We are hearing about the present Calais crisis in such distant places as Austin, Texas; a place with its own immigration issues to solve. I wonder how we can help, as I suspect that throwing money at it isn’t necessarily a solution. It needs an attitude change followed by a policy change.
    Your writing, if it touches the right audience, may be a stimulant although I’m convinced something pivotal is necessary – but what? Could a newspaper write a heart rendering story about the youth who hid under the truck or about the man who walked the Channel? I know that I tout statistics to address the core of the problem but ultimately it is probably individual emotions which will sway the day – the seekers have to become individuals with lives, loves, and feelings so powerful that they haunt as they do for you and I.

    • Thanks Jane, you are right about stats and stories which I have been distributing in other contexts. I am planning to go back to Calais for a longer period in late September and am hoping then to get some longer in-depth stories from people as to why they fled and how they got to Calais as I am sure you are right that it is the stories that move people most. We are also asking for more donations of essential goods or money so we can buy them.

  2. Compassion has to be balanced. Not only do we have responsibility to feed, clothe and shelter the poor no matter where they come from, but we also need to have compassion on those who are citizens of the country. In among those who are trying to get into GB are people whose aim is to destroy Britain’s way of life and harm her people. The Government has a responsibility to investigate and separate these from those who are genuinely in need and that is more wisely done before they enter the country. I also believe that helping people should be done as far as possible in their country of origin where they are part of a culture they understand. In our country there are those who we’ve let in showing compassion who can’t understand for example why it’s wrong to gang rape a teenager and some of their elders who still cling to their old culture cannot see why they should be jailed. They feel they are racially discriminated against.

    • I dont recognise the artificial lines we draw between regions of the world, Ian, and our arbitrary division of the earth into ‘countries’. As such the people from one part of the world are no more or less justified, in my view, to receive help and mercy. I also think that we need to transcend thinking that elevates our ‘group’ above others as this is a form of tribalism. We are one species and need to find a way to operate from this perspective. I realise of course that this is an unusual and some would say extreme view. However even if you think my perspective is bunkum and continue to argue in terms of countries the fact of the matter is that we are not allowing the people in Calais to apply for asylum – so we are making no assessment as to whether they have a case or not (or for that matter as to whether they are terrorists/rapists etc). It is only a relatively small number of people there – some 5000 or so – so would be relatively easy to give them a chance to make their case. Then we could help those who are ‘genuine’ and send back those who aren’t. However the British government appears to be dragging its feet about even doing this – perhaps partly because to do so might expose the fact that the vast majority of them are genuine – which would undermine the ability of the tabloid press to represent them otherwise.

  3. Hi Wyon,
    Calais again possibilities.

    Problem is that refugees are thought to need help which is true but the root causes of people becoming refugees is not shared due to government political pressure as Uk gov Complicit. I recall U.N. humanitarian corridors as best idea to Syrian conflict. whole villages are being given away in poor parts of Spain.

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