They say a picture tells a thousand words – and the image of a young, dead Syrian refugee boy, washed up on a Turkish beach arguably speaks more than a thousand words. Perhaps it will finally nullify the thousands of negative words that the British media have appallingly written, and spoken, of the “migrant crisis” – or as I like to call it, major humanitarian crisis.
David Cameron and the rest of the British hierarchy have made their stance clear: the “swarms” of people who have risked life and limb to flee the likes of war torn Syria and the atrocities that are happening in the Middle East are not welcome here. It is not our problem, and we simply don’t want to help.
I always thought Britain was a compassionate nation with great spirit, and above all else, heart – but to hear people agreeing that we should build fences and do all we can to shut off our borders to people in such desperate need has seriously made me question that belief. When did we become so insular? So overtly self-concerned that we can turn a blind eye to such horrendous happenings?
We find ourselves almost unrecognisable from that once great nation who welcomed refugee’s that fled from tyrannous regime’s such as that in Nazi Germany, and it cannot be argued that times were less hard then than they are now. So what has happened to our compassion?
The media’s almost universal use of the term “migrant crisis” and some of the things written have been quite frankly shameful, and reflect badly on us as a nation – much to my shock the BBC have almost stooped to the level of seasoned scaremongering tabloid newspapers such as The Daily Mail, and The Telegraph, amongst others. But what is most worrying, is that the torrent of negativity and fear that has been constantly on our TV screens and in print over this past month seems to be seeping through into public consciousness more and more with each article and news headline.
It has become apparent that as a society we seem to no longer seek to understand, we just search for somebody else to blame. As long as we are not the ones sinking in the Mediterranean then we don’t want to know. It is the product of a political tool that has only become ever more prevalent – The Politics of Fear.
The mainstream media are clever and hold a great deal of influence in shaping and swaying public opinion. Non-existent or barely relevant issues can suddenly become the main focus of our political system if they so wish. Whilst we are worrying about migrants somehow simultaneously taking our jobs and unemployment benefits at the same time, we don’t notice as our RBS shares are sold at a loss to Conservative Party donors, or as we become exposed to more privatisation in the NHS. We all understand that we have to take our medicine for that financial crisis we caused, and that public spending cuts are simply not avoidable – whilst cooperation tax must be lowered, and bankers bonuses increase.
But this of course is to be expected, as media moguls quite blatantly act with vested interests in mind and such political tactics have been in play for generations.
However this behaviour breeds trouble. Society in the UK is polarising, and the number of hate crimes is on the rise – and all in the name of what? As a political tool of fear and distraction? Unfettered capitalism has undoubtedly made us greedy, and perhaps this is not our fault – but we risk bringing up a resentful generation, only concerned about things that affect their personal interests, void of any compassion towards their fellow man.
I urge the people of this country not to fall into the trap of media and establishment rhetoric, and to think. Use those intelligent, independent brains of yours and think. You’ll see that we have played a undeniable part in the instability in the Middle East, and that we have a responsibility to help those in their time of need, not simply turn our backs.
Lives are at risk. Little, beautiful human lives. More innocent children will die if we do nothing, and we will have to live knowing that we stood by and watched.
Take a moment and reflect – this could be our children washing up on a shore somewhere, if the situation of our births had been different. Imagine the sheer disbelief we would feel if we witnessed a country who turned the other way to build fences and refused to help. Let’s prove to the world that the people of Britain still have a heart, and this once great nation is still great after all.
I must state that not all in the nation agree with the government’s stance – and that at time of publishing over 150,000 people have signed a petition on the UK Government and Parliament’s Petition site calling for more to be done to help.
The German’s have been welcoming the refugee’s with open arms and Chancellor, Angela Merkel’s response has been strong. It has been reported in The Independent that the German police have had to ask citizens to stop bringing food and supplies for refugee’s as they have become inundated so great is the support. Bayern Munich Football Club have announced they will set up training camps for refugees children and adolescents, donate to refugee causes, and that their players will lead out a refugee child each as mascots in their next home game to help promote intergration. In stark contrast, David Cameron’s stance makes us look vulgar and inhumane as a nation.
The image of the tragic loss of a young life is a shocking one, but one that could change the tide of our perception of these horrendous events – even the tone of the media has now changed somewhat.
David Cameron and co, the time to act is way overdue – we must do whatever we can, without further delay.
To sign the petition to “Accept more asylum seekers and increase support for refugee migrants in the UK” please click here to be taken to the petition page.