Collapse War & Peace

When is a refugee not a refugee?

Written by Louise

Apparently when they’re trying to get into Europe.

WARNING: This post contains upsetting images.

For the last four years, people have been attempting to flee the conflict in Syria. First they fled to neighbouring countries, such as Turkey and Jordan, where they were placed in ever-growing refugee camps. If you’re desperate, I guess a refugee camp seems like a good option for a while – at least you’re not living in constant fear of getting killed – but I imagine, once the initial terror fades, it can be a pretty miserable existence. Most people don’t want to survive on hand outs. They want to actually feel like they’re doing something to provide for their families.

Worse, the hand outs can be few and far between, and this is what’s happened to Syrian refugees in Turkey and Jordan. Despite repeated requests for international aid from the Turkish and Jordanian governments, very little assistance has been given. Refugees are faced with a stark choice: stay where they are and starve, risk death by going back home, or risk death in a dangerous attempt to reach safety in Europe.

According to the International Organisation for Migration, since the beginning of 2015, more than 2,000 refugees have died attempting to reach Europe.

Most of the deaths are on the deadly Mediterranean boat crossings, where overloaded fishing boats attempt to cross from North Africa to the countries of southern Europe. Many sink before they reach land, with the loss of many lives.

The images below are of the bodies of children washed up on the shores of Europe.

Syria Child

Syria Child

Syria Child

 

Yes, I know they’re upsetting. Wouldn’t they be even more upsetting if they were your children?

But does the rest of the world care about the suffering of people desperate to escape violence in their home countries and starvation in refugee camps? No, not really.

Here are some comments from people who saw the photos I posted above shared on a FaceBook group:

I’m just wondering when all these extra ppl get here, where are they all going to live and whos going to pay for there food and clothes ect, how mant ppl are in this country with no where to live and no food, who is looking out for them????

I just think that we should help our own first, how many pensioners die in their own homes because they cant afford to pay the bills, war heros have no where to live, children live on our streets, the list goes on.

I will always feel that we should take care of our own elderly and children first.

And this comment was posted in response to an online news report about the refugee crisis:

In todays world humanitarian aid is expected by immigrants to be a bottomless pit from the rest of the more fortunate but it doesnt work like that the real man in the street doesnt have deep pockets to deal with this ongoing nightmare. Sad but true! England went hungry in the war Syria must do the same.

It’s hard to find words to describe how much this shocks me. Apparently, these desperate people are not refugees; they are immigrants, and illegal at that. According to many people, they’ve just coming to Europe for a better life because they know immigrants have it easy here. They’ll take our jobs, and our homes … and probably the clothes off our backs, if they get a chance.

No, they’re just trying to survive, and we are refusing to help them.

When did we stop being human?

About the author

Louise

Animal lover, asexual, blogger, cyclist, daughter, dreamer, entrepreneur, expat, optimist, procrastinator, reader, realist, rescuer, runner, sister, writer ... Hate labels? Me too. Just read my blog.

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