Putting up a wall to keep out the most vulnerable people is nothing but a symbol to pacify the nationalists and demonise the powerless, another justification of their misinformed hatred & fear, hiding behind it weak little men in suits, and with it’s erection, roars of joy from the right wing press…
These people who we turn away have seen their entire lives crash down before them, have suffered in war-torn countries, have crossed seas, many are unaccompanied children, and the UK responds with a wall. A physical blockade which will surely only cause more deaths as the journey becomes harder, but the will of the people remains…A symbol that serves to further dehumanise the displaced, a symbol that shows them no matter how you may try, you are not welcome, your trials are not over. Surely we have progressed a little as a nation since the erection of Hadrian’s wall to keep out the Picts back in 122 AD, uncolonised and seen as savages, the Roman’s segregated them. Millenniums apart, same premise.
A ‘£17m UK funded security package’ could be spent on processing these people for asylum, providing housing, helping them. It’s not a case of no money, it’s a case of no humanity.
I know the argument against helping; “they could seek asylum in the first country they reach”. Due to the sheer number of people currently displaced around the globe as a result of conflict, how is this actually going to be possible? Turkey already houses 2.5 million refugees. 1 in every 122 humans in the world are currently refugees or seeking asylum… (UN refugee agency) 1/2 of all refugees are children (Unicef) and most importantly, all refugees are human. All countries in Europe have a humanitarian duty to help, and the UK has a duty to help more than we are, no matter how much the press seeks to demonise these people.
I am not religious at all but I remember going to church as a kid and learning values like not turning people away who knock at your door to ask for help, and I remember learning about The Holocaust at school and being horrified that people could demonise and treat other human beings like that. I remember reading Kindertransport in English and crying and thinking, at least these people helped. I’m pretty sure thats the kind of education that most people get right? And those values should stay with you right? So why do so many people have such animosity towards these people, want to treat them like animals (or worse, since people are more interested in campaigning against live exports than this)? The internet is a place where unsavoury views come out of the shadows. Read the comments on any newspaper article online, scroll down twitter feeds, and there you will find comments inciting hatred, suggesting that these people be walled into ghettos, shot… It’s like it’s okay to have these kind of attitudes now, and yeah Brexit perpetuated that, the presence of far-right politicians airing their views perpetuates that, the media perpetuates that, and it’s getting worse. We’ve seen it happen before in history, time and time again, the fear and hatred of the ‘other.’ It’s easy to hate and to turn a blind eye. And perhaps for those who have been hard-done by in society, having a group of people to hate that has been sold to you by the media as subhuman gives you a taste of power that you don’t have, gives you a target for your misplaced fears and anxieties, a target out of sight, and most importantly, helpless. I think most people are OK underneath it all, everyone has a certain level of empathy, but for some people that empathy only reaches as far as the end of their nose.
More importantly the people that have the power to help fucking suck. So what can we do? Volunteer at camps to help make the day-to-day more bearable for them. Ok. Donate money, food, resources. Help with the re-education of the displaced children. Can we do anything to actually change the way things are going? We are not politicians, and the issues are so complex. But I think what we can also do is work to change the attitudes of people towards refugees. Because otherwise these children are going to grow up in a world where they are resented and vilified, and these children will turn into adults, and we will have been the ones who did not help.