It’s holocaust memorial day today. I’m watching protests at airports, families torn apart and innocent people detained and questioned and I ask, like many others: what is the world coming to? Donald Trump is exercising his presidential hand and trying to prove a point. There’s already an injunction against it and I hope this order never comes to power. Why?
My Granny and Grandpa came over to England as Jewish refugees from Prague just as war broke out. None of their family survived. My Grandad on the other side of the family was exiled from Poland and marched across Siberia catching rabbits to eat to survive. He ended up in the RAF fighting for England and made Britain his home. My Dad came over from France with his parents at the age of 5. My Mum was born in England and my brother and I were too.
I am actually in favour of immigration control – there does need to be controls and checks in place and I believe illegal immigrants should be deported where appropriate. I pondered the question not long ago, what if there were no restrictions on travel anywhere? Anyone could live anywhere. That wouldn’t really work either, there should be something in between. What is the solution to the migrant crisis? Amnesty international has some ideas in their article 8 ways to solve the world refugee crisis
, including opening up safe routes to sanctuary and investigating and prosecuting illegal trafficking.
This doesn’t mean I don’t want refugees in my country. Far from it. If my country was torn apart by war, or my government started dictating what I can and can’t do with regards to my human rights, and the were other countries with greater freedom, I’d like to think I could escape and seek asylum. Would I want to leave my home? No, it would take something pretty extreme for me to leave and uproot my family. I would hope to be welcomed in a country that have their own rights and freedoms, that they wouldn’t shut me out, say I don’t deserve those same rights. If I looked slightly different to them, if some of my people had behaved badly, I’d hope they could see past that and know I do not represent that part of my culture.
I saw today a child who was put on a train from Prague during the second world war by her parents to go to England so she could be safe. She was one of hundreds of children who’s parents made the ultimate sacrifice and put their children’s safety above their needs. She was taken in by a family in Ashton under Lyme who sent their own child to stay with grandparents so they could take in her and her sister. This child is now an old lady who still lives in Britain today. She was part of a group of 669 children saved by Nicholas Winton
on the eve of the second world war, who wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for him.
It got me thinking about the current Syrian refugee crisis. Would I take in a Syrian child? I believe I would. I’m actually shocked no-one has asked. What has changed since those times? We’re not directly involved in the war, maybe that’s why. I know there are lots of checks that need to be done nowadays before anyone can look after a child, but it’s not mentioned in government speeches or asked of the general public. I know there are lots of UK children that need fostering and adopting, but I’m talking about helping out in a crisis situation for the short term. I can donate money and goods, which I do where I can, but I would love to help in more of a practical way. So how can we help these children and families struggling?
- Oxfam has a crisis appeal to help refugees in crisis
- Welcome Refugees – if there are any in your area
- Leave a message on the refugee action message board of welcome, which will be displayed in refugee centers
- Donate to Unicef to help children in danger
- Donate to CalAid to help the refugees in the Calais camps
- To donate items like clothes, blankets and toiletries, find your nearest center by clicking here or on Refugee maps
These are just some ideas. I’d love to hear more. I’m part of a group known as #BloggersForRefugees where we can swap ideas and share our thoughts about the crisis. What are your thoughts on the current crisis and how do you think we can help?
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