Earlier this week I made a comment on Facebook that I was finding the sharing of an image of a dead child disturbing. “That this is not what I want to come on Facebook and find”. And then I thought about that statement and hated myself for it. That child, Aylan, symbolises all that is wrong with the world. And all that is right with social media.
We all remember the image of Marcy Borders covered in dust running from the falling Twin Towers in NY. We remember Davinia Douglass as she fled the July 2010 bombings in London with her face covered in a protective gauze. The starving children in Africa that sparked Live Aid. The families running from the napalm cloud in Vietman. Those images become iconic and make those disasters and tragedies real.
They are now shared on social media and force us into action. As the picture of Aylan has done this week.
The crisis in Syria has been going on for years. Four years in fact since anti government protests (peaceful ones at first) quickly escalated into what is now a full blown civil war. Reports suggest nearly a quarter of a million people have been killed, 100,000 of those innocent civilians in the wrong place at the wrong time when a bomb is detonated in a market for instance.
The UN suggests that nearly 11 million have been displaced. Fleeing a war torn country in an effort to stay alive. Fathers trying to protect their wives from being raped by soldiers. Mothers trying to stop their children being beheaded. They are not trying to get into Europe for a council house or for free prescriptions and a decent school. They are running, literally, to stay alive. As Abdullah was when he fled with his wife Rehman, Aylan and his little brother Galip from Turkey where they had been for three years, as refugees from Syria.
Syrians are now the largest refugee population in the world.
And what are we doing about it?
Sod all from where I have been standing. And by “we” I mean the government. Whilst David Cameron pisses about in a wetsuit on a beach in Cornwall on another beach just a few hundred miles away a boy lies dead because his parents were trying to flee the country they were born in.
David Cameron of all people knows what it is like to lose a son. I am not for one minute saying he should use this as a political tool but for fuck sake if he of all people doesn’t feel some compassion to start finding some practical ways to help, and saying we will accept refugees then I think a march is in order. If people can continue to sit by in this country and do nothing to help then we might as well turn the lights off in Britain and all leave.
In fact this shouldn’t be a political issue at all. It is a humanitarian one. There shouldn’t be any discussion. It should be automatic. We should be helping in any and all ways possible. It shouldn’t be charities that are first on the ground to help, using money from donations. It should huge organisations and the government that are first there and doing something.
I read last week that the policing of Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy has cost close to £11 million. The Met have found that money to protect him. That was never in a budget. A similar figure has been spent trying to find Madeleine McCann, that was never in a budget but it was found and spent because it had to be. Of course it had to be. But it was never in a budget.
As money should be now to help out these refugees
We sent £280 million in Aid to India in 2012, rightly, they have crippling poverty and need our help. But at the same India spent £45 million on a mission to send a probe to Mars. If India concentrated on the starving homeless children of Calcutta and spend that £45 million a bit closer to home rather than on some poxy rocket we could have that money back and help out with the Syrian refugees, surely?
That’s a simplistic view, I know.
But it’s a simple problem. People need our help. We need to provide it. Now.
These people have nothing. It is getting colder. They will die from the cold and disease if we keep standing by and doing nothing. Women are giving birth with nothing. And not because the refugee camps are sexy places to live and they got romantic with her husbands, silly them. Because they have been raped.
Can you imagine having been raped and then having to give birth with no painkillers, no blankets, nothing? No. Nor can I but I need to do something to help those women that do know what that is like.
And once again it us, the hard working people of Britain that are seemingly the first to react. Social media has been awash with people saying “I need to help” or “I need to do something” over the past 72 hours and now people are doing something. Anything. And so can you. I beg of you, please do something.
TEXT 70008 and the word SYRIA to donate £5
This has been set up by Save The Children’s and you can read their terms and conditions by clicking on that link
Web donations can be made at the following:
I am collecting money and going to donate via an organisation I heard about yesterday. Not yet a registered charity because that takes time but they are working on it, and are friends of friends so I can vouch for their authenticity. Samara’s Aid Appeal are loading up trucks with care packages and driving them over in October. They have downloadable shopping lists for you to make up a banana box of supplies which is exactly what I plan to do.
Practical ways to help
The Independent newspaper this week had a front page full of useful information for people who wanted to do something. If you want alternatives from the above then please do have a read there are so many ways you can help.
Read it and do something
After all it really could have been you.