I have just returned from an epic mission driving from southern normandy, france, to deepest darkest cornwall. We made this joureny via the channel tunnel, and as with most Brits, we are anxious about what we might see and experience on the french side.
As it happens, we were swept through seeing very little other than barbed wire, via tight security. My steering wheel and door handles were scanned with some high tech device, presumanbly for explosives, my van door was opened and someone peered inside.. they didnt check the boot or footwells in the back seats. I was asked a number of questions re the children, as two have a different surname.
We saw no refugees, nothing.
It was very clinical and tense, but no signs of any probelms anywhere and yet, how many snippets of converstaions did i hear about those ‘bloody migrants trying to get into our country, holding us all up’
I drove due west when we hit england, increasingly aggitated by the attitudes and thoughts of the outspoken majority. People care more about a little inconvenience, than human life? Are you serious?
The biggest issue, i believe, is the language we use when talking about situations such as this.. migrant… the word connotates freedom of choice and movement, work, a desire for a new adventure..
These people are not migrants.
Would you take your children on an overcrowed boat knowing there was a real chance it would sink, by choice?
Would you leave your home and life risking everything on a whim?
Would you send your children off at 10,12 and 14 alone to walk thousands of miles to safety?
This is not a choice.
It is a desperate mission to survive.
Despite all the problems we have in this country, we all know how incredibly privalaged we were to be born or naturalised as British. Living in Great Britain allows us to have a voice, move freely, challenge authority, feel safe, work, be looked after when we are sick, marry who we want, leave if we want, have kids, not have kids, travel fairly freely within planet earth. we are overwhelemed with freedom of choice.
Just for one minute, take all that away.
Cornwall is under attack. Buildings are smashed to pieces. People you know are dead in the streets. The ear bleeding sound of gunfire and explosions are the soundtrack to your life. The smell of gunpowder and burning fill the air. The noise of boots marching ever closer, people begging, screaming. You have baricaded yourself and your children in your home, but you know its only a matter of time before it is you.
What do you do?
Seriously, what. do. you. do?
Stay and fight, knowing you are overwhelmed and risk leaving your children alone?
Hide, hoping your supplies last and you are able to all elude the enemy?
Do you run?
You hear about these boats that are taking people to europe, where the eu and nato will protect your children. Do you use your lifes savings and risk it, or do you stay and try to survive?
Can you even imagine being faced with that choice?
I am personally not religious, but there by the grace of god go I.
We are so incredibly lucky to live somewhere that we are unlikely to ever be faced with such choices, but that doesnt give us the right to ignore it. Or to demonise those desperate refugees, through fear we will become overrun and our culture with be lost. Seriously people, our culture is a mass of migration, invasion, empire and is so beautifully mixed up.
That is what being truly British is.
Celebrating freedom and choice.
Being that kind of britain is the biggest fuck you to terrorism and fundamentalism you can get.
Stand strong and firm in kindness and love for your fellow human beings. Show the world we are one of the greatest countries in the world with our peaceful, kind actions. I want to see us mimic germany, Screw history, they learnt from it many years ago. The images of their football fans holding up signs saying refugees welcome is where it is at for me.
That is the kind of Brtain I want to be part of.
As of today, refer to those poor souls as refeguees. They are fleeing war and certain death. They are mothers, fathers, children. Force yourself to look at those horrific pictures. Normal people. Normal clothes. Normal shoes. Normal children.
What a waste of life.
The very least we can all do is to show compassion.
As ever, the change starts with you.
If you feel that you can offer more, please follow this link and volunteer whatever you can:https://secure.avaaz.org/en/uk_refugees_volunteer_form/