Thursday, 3 September 2015

Heck, If European Leaders Can't Help In This Humanitarian Crisis Then What Exactly Are They Fit For?

Look at the picture - it makes you cry, doesn't it? The dreadfully upsetting crisis involving families leaving war torn countries to seek help in Europe is something to which we all desperately need to react - but it goes even deeper than that. I've never been a fan of this big EU super project, and goodness knows they have ballsed up the monetary system thus far - but for heaven's sake - if such an agglomeration of nations into a so-called cohesive European project is to be good for anything at all, then surely it is now, in crises like these, that we really need to see that demonstrated, and see them show their humanitarian mettle, don't you think? That is to say, it is precisely in tragic and precarious situations like this that the very qualities a union like the EU ought to possess can come to the fore in helping so many desperate human beings that need our help.

Families are trying to enter Europe largely on three fronts - people entering by land from Central Asia, people fleeing from Middle Eastern strife and entering through Greece, and people leaving Africa and coming through Italy. If our European leaders are to respond to this in anything like the right way, they must work out a conscientious and humane plan of action that will result in an agreement that these desperate people can be taken in and cared for, proportionally to each country's capacity.

The big problem with this crisis, of course, is that the better Europe becomes at providing refuge to people escaping their plight in Africa and the Middle East, the more migration it will encourage, which sadly will involve many more deaths in the process.

European leaders - and not just European leaders, world leaders too - have a mammoth task on their hands: they have to provide refuge for desperate people, whilst simultaneously doing plenty more in the blighted nations to tackle those crises and stop many more desperate people getting washed up in the Mediterranean or dying through starvation along the way.

As I said at the start, this is precisely the kind of crisis where nations chewing on the cud of this European project really need to come into their own and demonstrate how collectively they can respond to this multi-continental tragedy in a way that shows what can be achieved with a continent united.

But what can we individuals do - those of us ordinary citizens who don't have the same kind of clout as national leaders? There are two things primarily: one is donate to a good cause that will help - here is an excellent list of very good places to donate to - please share this blog as widely as you can if, if nothing else, it spreads around this link. And secondly, here's the other big thing that can be done - we must keep challenging anyone and everyone who talks of these people merely in terms of 'refugees' 'asylum seekers', and 'migrants', or who thinks of them as pests and nuisances - because fundamentally they are people: they are human beings who are hurt, terrified, vulnerable, and in desperate need of love and compassion and kindness from people much better off than them.
So it'll be great to donate what we can - but let's not just donate money - let's bestow a wealth of human kindness in speaking out against all those who forget the basic notion that everyone is a human being, and that when human beings desperately need help, the need to respond in a way that shows us at our most loving is a desperate need as well.