On Thursday I, along with the rest of the world, saw a harrowing photo – it had me rooted to the spot, lost for words, with tears streaming down my face feeling appalled at the crappy world we live in. A world where babies are drowning, because their families are fleeing their homes to desperately seek refuge elsewhere. My stance on Syria pretty quickly changed from apathy to outrage. I felt compelled to do something, anything, so I joined forces with over a hundred other bloggers to try and make a difference.
We wrote posts highlighting the need to help with details of how. We updated our social media statuses for the cause. Some of us took photos like the one above and changed our profile photos to show it – the photos are of our own children holding a sign saying ‘it could have been me/us’.
Except it couldn’t have been our children could it?
Our children live in the UK, and have nice warm homes and food in their bellies. Our children aren’t fleeing a war torn hell hole, where their parents would rather get on boat or run the fucking Euro Tunnel to take their chances of seeking refuge. Our children would never end up washed up on a beach plastered all over the news, because we have the utter privilege of being able to keep them safe at all times.
Of course it couldn’t have been our children in the literal sense, but the point of the photos was to highlight the stark similarities between our own children and those that are dying every single day. Not just Aylan Kurdi and his brother Galip, but the many that are the tragic casualties of this horrific war. It’s a shame that it took for their story to be made public for the world to stand up and take notice, but at least it’s happened.
Unfortunately, you can’t please everyone in life, and today has been a prime example of that. While most of social media responded positively to our efforts of raising awareness and funds for the amazing work Save The Children are doing, there was also negativity.
There was ignorance of the ugliest kind, where people resorted to tired right wing mantras. Such as;
“why should we take them when we don’t have to?”
“they should F*** off back to their own country”
“you should be raising funds for British charities, not sending money to foreigners”
Well no, we don’t have to do anything, but if your conscience can allow you to turn a blind eye and have this opinion, then you have lost your soul as far as I’m concerned. In terms of going back to their own country, do you honestly think they would have risked the lives of their children in such a desperate way if going back was an option?
Open your eyes people, and look at the bigger picture.
I don’t really talk about my family on here, just the fact that I am estranged from them. It’s days like today that reminds me why I made the decision I did.
When Live Aid was first broadcast in the eighties, my parents were outraged. This continued every time Comic Relief was on the TV. I heard ignorant comments throughout my childhood about how awful it was to be helping refugees in Africa, because charity should start at home. Blah blah blah blah blah… you can call me a bleeding heart liberal if you like, but I always felt this was wrong. Even at eight years of age.
I learnt long ago that you can’t please everyone, and shouldn’t bother trying. I learnt to rise above the haters and not give them airtime. Today I chose to tune out to the ignorant negativity, but I’d be lying to say it doesn’t upset me that some folk truly feel like this. That they can close their eyes and pretend babies aren’t dying, or worse, say they couldn’t give a shit.
Just in case you do want to help
There are incredible things going on all over the country, which has restored my faith in humanity these past couple of days.
People have opened their homes to be used as storage facilities and are collecting supplies to take directly to Calais, such as this wonderful Brixton woman.
Men, women and children will be marching through London on the 12th September to tell parliament that the Syrian Refugees are welcome here.
Save The Children and other worthy charities are raising funds to make a difference where it’s needed the most.
The blogging community have come together to show how much they care, and want to make a difference.
To close my eyes and pretend this happening just isn’t an option for me. Is it for you?
Whatever you do, please don’t turn a blind eye.
Do something to help.
Whatever you decide, don’t chose apathy.