This is a letter from one of our members who has spent large parts of her life helping refugees abroad. I am publishing it because I think she expresses the frustration and helplessness of so many people who are being subjected to their governments bad and heartless decisions. Where has humanity got to ? Shame on us rich Europeans from all over the continent.
"I feel ashamed and powerless" this was the last line of a letter to the guardian on the subject of UKs failure help child refugees in Calais. I feel the same.
I have searched for and read every article on Syrian refugees in the UK press, and sometimes the French press for over a year now. And now I find I have become so sickened I can hardly carry on. What drives me is the love I received from the Tibetan refugees whom I worked for as a naive 20yr old, 50 yrs ago. They had nothing, but they gave me their hearts, and we shared good times together, giving them Help and Hope. I do love the name you have given your organization.
I feel that the British Government is not allowing people to respond to the desperate need of the Syrian Refugees. They have made it their responsibility to make all the decisions, and they are making the wrong ones time and time again.
I worked for the Ockenden Venture, and am proud to have known Joyce Pearce who had opened her heart and home to children from the detention camps in Germany. For the next 30 years she responded to several child refugee crises in her own way, but always with love, and speed, minimizing the length of the suffering was more important than getting everything right. The first welcome to the refugees was from India, despite all the demands from their own people, they allowed the Tibetans to organize themselves with the help of the international charities.
We are no longer allowed to Love these people, we are being taught to fear them, contain them within petty rules and systems, paying expensive lawyers to make sure international rules are adhered to even if that costs time and money and destroys more lives. Endlessly trying to avoid the responsibility. What makes a terrorist ? I ask myself, sometimes it is just an unjust world.... what makes a good citizen? I ask, I have lived in several countries, and wherever, I have been treated well, I am happy to contribute.
How come some southern counties in the UK still have no refugees, even when locals have prepared and furnished houses ready for them. I feel ashamed to be be British. All the backlog of cases should be cleared by now, because chaos in Aleppo must mean that hundreds more are on their way. Forget about the pull factor, even kids stuck in the jungle, tell their parents that everything is good and safe, they dont want their parents to worry. I have watched immigrants in Spain standing beside smart cars to have their photos taken, before going off to sleep in an underpass. These photos get sent back to west Africa, the pull factor is built on so many fabrications. It must be possible to come up with clear guidelines.
At last Channel four news have returned to the crisis, and the horror in Aleppo but I sense disaster fatigue in the faces of everyone I talk to. They say the disaster is now worse than Sarajevo perhaps one day they will say that it has been worse than the greatest disasters of the 20th cent. yet we continue to turn our backs. I would love to hear some good news stories, I know France started by taking more people than the UK, I need to know some success stories. Among these shattered lives there will be great people, great writers, musicians, cooks, people who have so much to give to us, people who will love us and give us joy if we help them.