You can probably tell that this is about the refugee crisis. No points for that deduction. But what I really wanted to talk about was people’s attitudes towards it.
There are those who have posters on their front doors saying ‘refugees welcome here’, those who are opposed to apparently anyone other than themselves being in the country and then those who don’t really care, saying it’s not their problem.
Example one- a couple of months ago, we had a school trip to France. In the days leading up to the trip, our teachers rounded us up and gave us a lecture about the migrants, and not to be afraid if *heaven forbid* we saw one of these disgusting creatures, and I swear that was exactly what they were portraying them as. I naturally just ignored her, because I had better things to do on a Thursday lunchtime than listen to someone say people who are attempting to run to safety are more of a threat than the people they were running from.
On this trip the ferry stopped in Calais and we passed a refugee camp. And there were quite a lot of refugees in the seaside town we went to, mainly close to the beach- but most of them were young, some even younger than me. None of them seemed even vaguely dangerous. When we were walking over to the beach, just before we left, we passed this old man, with two kids with him. They were all leaning against this wall we passed, and I had about 80 euros left so I wanted to give some to them, because I knew I wasn’t going to spend it, but, I was walking with a friend of mine, and when she noticed I had slowed down, she gave me a bit of an evil look and that resulted in an argument over the treatment of refugees. A few other people may or may not have joined in.
We did have an incident on that trip, but it had nothing to do with refugees, just a group of idiotic teenage boys who thought it was funny to throw stuff at 11 year old girls, and punch random people.
Still, on the journey home the debate over migrants continued and the general view was that nobody really cared. I was just being over-emotional, and it was just ‘Maryam getting worked up over nothing again’.
In the last week, 3 year old Aylan Kurdi drowned trying to get to Canada, and suddenly everything changed. The people who were just mere days ago referred to as a ‘migrant swarm’ who were ‘invading our countries’ are suddenly being welcomed with open arms. It’s moments like these when you start to regain your faith in humanity, when people come to their senses and actually start to care about others, when they start to think ‘hey, maybe people who are far away are important as well’, when they can look at someone less fortunate and say ‘ hey, maybe I can help them.’, instead of writing them off. Just weeks ago nobody wanted to know about anyone- any of my friends, when asked about stuff like this, would just reply with ”it’s too far away, it doesn’t matter”- but hopefully now they might be more human.
Because I am just sick and tired of people not helping people because they’re in a different culture, a different country or continent, because at the end of the day we’re all humans and we need to help each other. I know I might sound like a total hippy weirdo preaching about peace and love, but seriously, we are all humans, and horrific things are happening all over the world to other human being, and we can’t just act like just because it isn’t happening here, now , to us, that it’s not happening.
In the film ‘Independence Day’, the president of America declares the 4th of July a holiday for the whole world, because it is the day when mankind finally set aside its differences to join together to fight the aliens. Now, if you take away the aliens and the president and the flying cigars, there is a lesson to be learnt- as humans, 99.9% of any given person’s DNA is identical to any other person, so how can we have so many disputes over 0.1% of our genetic code. 0.1% is 1/10 the amount of fat in skimmed milk. 0.1% is such a small number that it shouldn’t mean anything but it does. Yes, we are different, yes, we are unique- but we’re still one species, and we shouldn’t need a catastrophic event to unite us all.
At the end of the day, 0.1% shouldn’t divide us.
It should bring us together.