The news headlines a few days ago were filled with images of a three year old Syrian boy who had drowned trying to reach ‘safety’. I read a follow up article on the family a few days ago. The aunt in Canada had sent this poor boy’s father around 4000 euros in order to pay for passage for him, his mother, his sibling and dad into Europe. The only survivor was the father.
They had chosen to flee because a brother in law had been beheaded and an older brother had been refused refugee status to Canada due to paperwork he could not complete because of a collapsed government system so they felt absconding into Europe was the only solution.
This has become hugely controversial lately. Media is divided completely in the middle, there is no middle ground.
You are either xenophobic and say these people are infringing upon my home, my safety, my resources. They are not stopping to register at the first safe port for refugee status but in many instances are flocking en masse to countries they feel will be more likely to hand out substantial state aid and benefits, way beyond countries where their lives could be considered endangered and where they should have first applied.
Or you are of the second camp who say, these people, they have lost so much, noone would suffer so much risk to life if they were not more fearful of where they were before and they are people and should be treated as such. We owe it to ourselves and them to assist as far as possible in rehousing them where they want to be.
I sympathise with their stories. I remember almost crying on a nightclub floor as a Zimbabwean I met told me he could never return ‘home’ in current circumstances. He was legally in England but he had nothing to go home to in Africa.
I do not understand some of the news stories however, I cannot help but question the parts of the stories people are not telling. How they were presumably shipwrecked but managed to keep their cellphones bone dry. How they think threats of violence are acceptable means to ensure welcome into the country of their choice. Even as I wonder at what terrible hardships they may also be hiding deep in their psyche.
The drowned boy’s family was a prime example of this. That was a LOT of money to send via electronic transfer to pay for passage. I find it hard to believe with that amount of money they couldn’t get counterfeit papers to appease the Canadian government to come to Canada as sponsored refugees. Corruption in places of war and fallen governments are fairly typical tales in most of history.
I couldn’t understand why failing that they had not managed a tourist visa for Canada which would have been easier to get and then flown over and ‘disappeared’ into the country after. Goodness knows South Africa is full of people who have done this. England is full of South Africans, Indians, East Europeans who have done this. It is no way to live and you are always on the breadline but you are alive compared to the horrors you may be trying to flee.
I feel like many of these refugee stories are only half told. I want the full story before I can really say I believe or I don’t in their plight. But noone likes a fence sitter in these circumstances.