The photograph of the refugee toddler being carried from the sea broke my heart today. Ripped it out in fact. I cannot imagine how his mummy felt, if she even made it. I’m sure she would have gone under herself first if she had been with him. That last breath, knowing your baby was going to go under too. (Since writing this, I found out that she didn’t, nor his brother but their poor father survived.)
Until now I have avoided it a bit, I mean, I’ve said how awful it is, felt sad for the people but was guilty of not digging too deeply into finding out more, probably knowing how upsetting it is, preoccupied with my own life. Seeing that image today has ripped me from my denial, brought it home to me how real this is. All this and I had only seen the photo of him being carried from the water. I have now seen all the images and am in tears. The thing that has disgusted me the most has been the attitude of some people, the few that have accused these refugees of having an agenda.
These people don’t want our jobs, they are desperate, desperate enough to risk their lives and their beloved babies lives to escape. They deserve our help, as fellow humans. What it must be like there to take this as a better option. I just can’t imagine. Today I had a hideous day with my children, I was near to tears by the time I got home from a horrible stressful trip to London complete with cancelled trains and the tube at rush hour, but the whole day I couldn’t get that image from my mind. I felt terrible, and so guilty because I still have my babies to cuddle, I am stressing about a fun trip to see the dinosaurs, a train journey that I could afford to pay for, a trip across a country that I am free to explore. This summer we went on holiday, we were free to travel all over Europe, having a lovely time, and all the while people were clinging together in the dark waters off the beaches more used to seeing bikini clad holiday makers, in the freezing cold, praying that their boat isn’t the one to sink, holding their children close in an effort to keep them warm. Wondering if you will ever be saved, if you will be able to get them food.
The reason for my easy life and my ability to come and go as I please is because of the place I was born. These people are the victims of their place of birth. It could just as easily have been you or I in that position. What atrocities would be bad enough to make you get into a leaky boat with your tiny children having no idea if you would ever get out again, or where. If you eventually did make it somewhere, the relief you felt would be short lived. Unable to speak a word of the language, met by hostility, angry faces, razor wire. Forced to sleep on the rocks, to bed your children down in the grass at the side of train tracks, not able to provide them with any food or water, or dry clothes.
No matter who you are or what your status, I’m sure you can relate to that. You may not have any money to donate, and that’s ok, I understand, but maybe you have some old clothes, maybe you were planning to have a clear out of your children’s outgrown clothes and toys, think how much a person who has left their homes and everything they own would appreciate that jumper that Aunty Meryl knitted you ten years ago. I’m pretty sure they won’t care a jot about the too long sleeves or the green and orange polka dot pattern, they will just be thrilled with the warmth and the fact that someone cared enough about them to send it.
If you do have some spare money and you would like to give something, this is a link to donate to the Migrant Offshore Aid Station, who are working with the fantastic Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to find, rescue and treat refugees stranded at sea. I think it’s called operation Phoenix if you wanted to google them. You can donate with paypal, easy as buying a pair of shoes on ebay!
I don’t want to post the photos here. They are so upsetting. But if you wanted to see them for yourself and read through the article; this is the link. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/if-these-extraordinarily-powerful-images-of-a-dead-syrian-child-washed-up-on-a-beach-dont-change-europes-attitude-to-refugees-what-will-10482757.html
In the meantime, I will leave you with the image of these little lads in happier times. May they rest in peace.