Wow. Where do I begin? This is more appreciable by those in the UK and Europe but I urge people the world over to make themselves aware of a very real crisis. A crisis not in terms of influx of refugees to European nations but  crisis in the lack of love and good will we show to them as fellow human beings. What’s rattled my cage? An album of photos circulating on social media of bodies washed up. 80 of them, just a handful photographed. Palestinian and Syrian refugees trying to reach a better life in Europe. An image of a young boy, blue and lifeless as the waves wash over him.

British media would blind us to this situation with claims that these people are relocating to the UK to take advantage of the welfare system. Yes, according to the Emperor Rupert Murdoch, women are floating in the sea cradling their babies just above drowning point for the sake of less than £100 a week. I think if you can swallow that story, you too could probably swallow gallons of salt water and make it to shore. Belief is everything, right?

I don’t want to share the images I’ve seen of those poor souls washed up on the beach. Not directly, but I will share this link because I think you do have a right to choose whether or not to see them. I hope you choose yes.

Immediately I saw these, I began emailing my MP and at that point remembered my childhood in this green and pleasant land where GM crops, bee-killing pesticides and social media, the powerful tool we ignore for its opportunities to change the world, had not been invented. And I remembered watching UK kids TV and being shown humanitarian crises in Ethiopia and the Sudan; children starving, babies never making it past their mothers’ arms. We rallied then, us children. We did all sorts of fundraising activities, sponsored this, handmade that, bring and buy sales and we sent that money off to provide food to those poor, starving people.

Fast forward thirty years or so and the crisis is knocking on our door asking for a loaf of bread and a roof for the night. So what do we do? We corral them instead into what amount to concentration camps and say you must go through the proper channels. Forging their way across the sea in nothing but an inflatable dinghy does not show enough need to be anywhere but where you came from?

People I know, I am sad to say, subscribe to the media-mogul-manufactured spoon-feeding system and truly believe those people risk their very lives and those of their children to come here where they will be financially worse off than in their homeland but physically safer. Yes, they have risked all for such uncertainty and to live among people who all but spit upon them and shun them for their courage. Shame on us.


Among my generation, where are those children who raised money for people starving in Africa? Is it as Billy Connolly once said – charitable apathy? We watched it on TV as children, so humanitarian crisis is normal to us. No. Surely not. It is not normal to me and will never be acceptable. This a more recent malaise in the belief in love of and for humanity. Why, though? Are we told too many times that we are destroying our planet, that the human race cannot survive far into the future anymore? Have we learned that no matter what we do, the government, whoever they happen to be right now, will make us suffer for it? We do not know suffering. Not since my grandparents’ generation have we really suffered as a nation and even then not as Palestine and Syria do right now. We didn’t let children in Africa suffer because they didn’t want to nor had the facility to flee to our shores. Other people went and helped them at home. We didn’t run the risk of meeting them on our own streets! They were safe and sanitised humanitarian aid by comparison. But they had places to live. These courageous, seafaring, aspirational folk in 2015 have no such thing.

A woman is raped in the streets of the UK in daylight and cries for help, no-one goes to her. If she cries fire, many will attend. That has happened again in the beautiful Newcastle recently. The attacker was a tall white man. No immigrant. But he might have been, just he would have been the ‘acceptable’ kind (I speak in the attitude of the great British public this decade). And as I say that, I’m reminded that many argue we are a Christian nation and anyone coming here must accept that. I laugh at that. How Christian are we when we let children drown instead of doing something to alleviate the crisis causing that drowning?

If you are reading this, the chances are you are human. Look beyond your bubble and see, this world is in pain. People are in pain and dying to be free of their own homes! Why can the vast majority, or it so seems, only see that “they want our money and our jobs”. Media. The most powerful people in any nation are those controlling the press. I seriously hope that majority are saving up those papers to make themselves a boat because global warming, that other thing you read about but do so little to help, will see Great Britain vastly reduced in land mass. When you wash up on someone else’s shore, will it be for the benefits or for a safe, dry home?

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About julietmchugh

Fiction writer from the North East of England with a taste for the gruesome and macabre, unusually obsessed with container gardening!

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