Thursday, 3 September 2015

I AM Bothered - warning heavy post

I'm currently watching the lunchtime news and I AM bothered.

I have been following the migrant crisis (& I think we are in a crisis) since Spring.  I think I was aware of it before the news stations picked it up because my heart belongs on a Greek island called Lesbos.  You will have heard of Lesbos now - 6 months ago you probably wouldn't have.  Lesbos is 3 miles from the coast of Turkey and since Spring has been a major stopping point for little boats bringing desperate people from Turkey (& further afield).

For a long time, every morning, I checked that all the boats had arrived safely.  They had either landed themselves or been rescued by the Greek Coastguard based in Molyvos (one of the villages closest to Turkey).  Then one day in early Summer the news came out that people had drowned including 3 children.

Molyvos is a big village, dependant on Tourism.  Lesbos is the 3rd largest Greek Island but not the biggest population wise, population wise it is relatively small.  The people of Molyvos (& other villages of Lesbos) have done so much for the refugees. Indeed until this Summer, it was illegal to offer a lift to any refugee- you could be prosecuted for being a people smuggler, so once the migrants had reached land they had to walk to the capital, Mytilene.  That journey is 60Kms.  Thankfully the Greek government changed this law so transport can now be taken, when it's available.

In just 5 days in July 10,000 migrants reached Molyvos - yup, in 5 days.  There is no official help for migrants on the island, it is volunteers who help where they can.  Times are very hard in Greece and yet many people on Lesbos have come together to help where they can.

None of this made the news.  Not until the crisis intensified.  Now, everyday the news is on tv, we see 1,000's of migrants in a number of countries desperately trying to move on to somewhere they think they will have a better life.

Today, alone there is 3 year Aylan who sadly washed up on a Turkish beach, along with his 5 year old brother and Mum.  So desperate that his Mum took the risk of getting on little more than a blow up dingy to find a better life, and who paid the price which their lives.

Then in Hungary, and I think they thought they were doing the right thing, they filled a train and instead of going to Austria/Germany they took the train into the countryside to put the migrants into camps (now this idea reminds me of another time and I am sad that the authorities didn't see why this may not be a good idea).

I don't know the answers.  I really don't BUT when families are fleeing a war torn country should we not have the compassion to help.  Should we not take more families and help them settle into our country and try and show them that although they have been through hell, there are people out there who are willing to show them that life can be good again.

Some people in this country (& others) say we should look after our own before we help others and I understand these thoughts.  I have many friends I have met in the MS world and when I see what help they often don't get it makes me angry but I don't believe in my heart that by helping families from Syria this will impact the help that is offered to others.

I do believe that we owe these families a safe haven and David Cameron you should man up and act now.

If you have read this far then thank you.  I wouldn't usually post such a serious post but I AM BOTHERED.

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