20 March 2016
The journey from early last year to now has been a long a painful one for many many people fleeing oppression and war, cruelty and violence, discrimination and segregation in this disaster for the whole of humanity called
“the Refugee Crisis”
Even with 10 years experience of first responding after natural disasters, have I ever had such mind games to deal with. As a humanitarian it has been the most testing time of my life and I make no apologies for saying that my heart and mind have taken a serious battering. That said, when lovely people say I should not take the world on my shoulders - they are of course right - but try telling my brain to find the off switch - the switch does not work and no amount of repair will get it functioning again! I just find a way to deal with it with support from amazing friends and strangers.
I will never give up, however this is not about me, but about what is happening to human beings we live alongside. So I want to try and put down the reasons I cannot and will give up.
The people fleeing, have endured lies, broken promises and had their dreams smashed into pieces. They have fled their homes after threats of beheading or being forced to fight for either Isis or Assad, they have travelled on broken and dangerous boats, they have been sold fake life jackets, watched as people around them have drowned, lost all their meagre possessions and identity papers in the freezing water, climbed slippery rocks in the dark clutching the few belongings they snatched.
They put their faith into criminal smugglers hands because they were desperate.
They believed them when they told them they would find people to give them food, water, clothing and most importantly papers to give them legality in Europe and the UK. They ran from the authorities who tried to arrest them. They climbed fences and crossed rivers to reach the promised land, many sadly dying on that dangerous journey.
What exactly IS the promised land?
some will say it is the UK with benefits for all - its not that simple, housing, jobs, schooling and medical services. Some say it is safety. Some say it is a place to study and work without fear of oppression. Some say its to be with family in safety. Some say its anywhere but their own country.
so lets look at the reality....
For some, they have made it - for some that is enough - and for others it is not what they were told it would be - months and months in detention centres/camps while waiting for those illusive papers reading ‘indefinate leave to stay” - not allowed to work - not allowed to leave the country they are in - even to help others. Not allowed to WORK - not allowed to WORK - not allowed to WORK.......just imagine - can you imagine?.........hours and hours - days and days of nothing - unable to do anything for lack of money, unable to go anywhere, unable to communicate with family, unable to think, unable to dream, unable to function as before. Some have a little money as they came from their country from good jobs etc but soon that money will diminish as the weeks of waiting roll into months. Others are helped personally by volunteers - many who are individuals, as the larger Charities seem to be sitting by doing very little, and in most cases nothing, to help the huge numbers now in Europe.
There are literally hundreds of individuals who have set up funding sites on FB and have banded together to help - because, like me, they feel the injustice of it all very deeply.
There are others who sit watching, pouring scorn and hatred on the volunteers, accusing them of being Muslim lovers, or terrorist supporters or criminals and worse too - some are subjected to hate mail and damage to property.
Some countries are processing the people as best they can and others are doing very little and all the while we watch as the world’s governments seem to turn a blind eye to the violence meeted out by the CRS in France and the border Police in many EU countries - all the while they make polices that discriminate, ignore and even abuse human rights - for what?
So in years to come we can say what exactly? that we as a world dealt with this crisis with:
Compassion - Planning - Humanity - Dignity - Integrity - Love - Sensitivity?
NO NO and NO, none of those have been used by the Governments and the politicians!
We have seen a stream of politicians and high profile people visit and then report on what they saw and think!
So what exactly has been learned and achieved ?
let me tell you - a big fat ZERO - nothing!
So why do people who have the power to change things - talk about HOW they want to change things - then go on to do nothing?
Can David Cameron answer that one?
He didn’t reply to my letter to him last year so I have no doubt he will not listen this time.
I have loved being British and I was proud of it - but this last 12 months I can say truly I am NOT proud of it at all. I am not proud of what we as a nation give as a message to the world about how we cannot reach out and show love and help to those who are in dire need.