90 Seconds That Sums Up The Inhumanity Of Britain’s Response To The Refugee Crisis (VIDEO)

B005As I write this, millions of Syrian citizens are eeking out an existence under makeshift tents after suffering an exodus unseen in contemporary history. Only the most inhumane spectator could look upon such a situation and believe that it is we who are suffering the crisis. Save Syria’s Children have produced a 90-second film which brings home that inhumanity like nothing I’ve seen to date.

The short film is a mock version of the ‘second a day’ videos so popular with young people on social media – the user films a second a day of their lives for a period of time and then uploads the montage, revealing an evolving series of snapshots of their life.

This one begins with a birthday party for a pre-teen white girl in the UK, her mother presents a magnificent cake and says: ‘make a wish darling’. We then follow the girls year in one second films. We see her surrounded by family, playing with make-up, being embarrassed by her grandma, laughing with friends – the paradoxically beautiful and mundane reality of a life we all recognise. But then we catch snippets of news reports in the background of her life. Growing tensions, violent clashes, live ammunition. While she continues to play, we see the danger lurking at the periphery of her existence. While she plays and sings in the foreground, we see her parents nervously listening to the radio and the TV, and having tense conversations with neighbours in the background. The soundtrack of her life changes from birds, bees and children’s laughter to fighter jets and warning sirens. Before long, she is scared too. The danger is not in the background any longer, but pulled into the fore, disrupting her existence. As bombs drop, her family flee their home for safer shelter. The water runs out, the medicine runs out. Her school is blown to bits. She becomes dirty and disheveled. Her family are reduced to foraging for their food in the woods and parks in which they would once have enjoyed family picnics. Her father is rounded up by who knows what forces. She is seen in a refugee camp with her mother, all the life and joy gone from her face.

The film ends on her next birthday, in that refugee camp, her mother singing happy birthday while presenting a ‘cake’ of a single flapjack on a dirty plate. She finishes with: ‘make a wish, darling’

This video is so important because it makes a point that cannot be hammered home enough – those Syrian refugees are us. They are us. Some people find it hard to see the human tragedy in numbers.

  • 1 in 5 Syrians is now a refugee in a neighbouring country will mean very little.
  • 270,000 Syrians have applied for asylum in EU countries, nearly 8 million are displaced internally – meaning they are refugees inside their own country.
  • Add to that the fall out from war in Afghanistan, and abuses in Eritrea, and you can understand why there were more migrants detected at the EU’s borders in January-August 2015 than for the whole of 2014.

These figures leave some people cold – or worse, scared. They see a tsunami headed for Dover, soon to wash across their quiet, ordered slice of the country. What these people must understand is that each of those lives is just as important as their own. Every bowed, traumatised, crying man, woman and child huddled at Calais, Lesvos, Budapest, or Dover is a person like us – they had a life, a job, a favourite toy, they were in love, they had dreams – and they have been ripped apart by a trauma the likes of us simply cannot understand. They don’t want to be huddled in rags by the side of a road in a country far from home, but life had other plans for them. They exercised every muscle and sinew to survive an unspeakable war, and flee to safer space.

Some EU countries have stepped up to this challenge. Germany defied the Dublin Law’s restrictions on immigrants to welcome in 800,000 Syrian refugees this year – a massive contribution to absorbing the refugee population and reducing pressure on entry points across the EU. German citizens have been so busy donating to support the refugees that police actually had to ask them to stop, as they had more resources than they yet knew what to do with. When coach-loads of Syrian refugees arrived in the tiny German town of Oer Erkenschwick this week, hundreds of townspeople bearing flowers and welcome banners lined the streets to welcome their guests.

In Iceland, a tiny island with a population of under half a million people – 11,000 people have offered to open their own homes to help house Syrian refugees.

What is noticeable about these contributions is they are not based on a cold calculation, or some notion of scarcity – but instead they are backed by principle. Whatever it takes, we will rise to this challenge with humanity. For the individuals, groups and nations taking that approach – the crisis is happening to the refugees, and they have the opportunity to do something about it.

But not everyone sees the world this way. German bigots torched a refugee shelter in Nauen last month, and in a recent YouGov poll a staggering 67% of the British public back sending the troops to Calais to stop migrants entering the UK.

For those people, a crisis is happening to them – not the starving, shivering refugees.

Personally, I choose Team Humanity. Not simply because of our nations historic and current role in the catastrophe but for a much simpler reason. I believe this issue comes down to a very simple question: What kind of person/country do I/we want to be?

We can be isolated, aggressive and cold, or networked, compassionate and open. The decision is each of ours to make – and it’s a no-brainer so far as I’m concerned.


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11 thoughts on “90 Seconds That Sums Up The Inhumanity Of Britain’s Response To The Refugee Crisis (VIDEO)

  1. It’s heartening at what is otherwise a bleak time to see outbreaks of humanity such as in Germany and Iceland. With a few notable exceptions (Merkel), and in the absence of leadership from the people paid to do this on our behalf, it’s been left to ordinary people to stand up for Syrian (and other) refugees. I get the long game about restoring order to failed states and dealing with IS, but if all we hear from David Cameron and Theresa May is talk of more fences when our first instinct should be to offer a place of safety it makes me angry and ashamed.

  2. Article 14. of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights states that ‘Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.’ Asylum seekers are refugees fleeing from persecution or war zones. The media is calling these people migrants, they are however refugees not migrants! Thus they fall into the category of asylum seekers under article 14 and we not only have a moral obligation but a legal obligation to keep our borders open. There needs to be pressure on main stream media to report them as refugees rather than as migrants and pressure on the government to behave like human beings and use their position to influence the people in general.

  3. Mabey, they feel these Muslims black just like the ones in their country do now not that I’m heartless but it might help if you look at both sides of the picture

  4. It has become an unthinking fashion to blame the Democratic West for strife in the Muslim world. The Muslim world has been riven with faction since the death of Mohammed in 632 after which its medieval culture has spread by sword and persicution. The West did not make Saddam invade Kuwait nor did it cause the conflict in Syria. Sunnis murder Shiites and Shiites murder Sunnis without outside assistance. Whilst the migrant situation is one of appalling magnitude it is apparent on the news broadcasts that most of those involved are young men and mainly Muslim. There have been far too many problems arising in the UK and the rest of Europe from the ranks of those Muslims already here and people do not wish to see the situation made worse. The British people will support Cameron over his policies.

  5. The correct response would be for a pan-European army to be formed and, assisted by US air power, invade Syria and exterminate every last one of the ISIL filth, at the same time remove Bassar Assad and his murdering crew, take over and govern the entire country for the good of its citizens.

  6. Pingback: 90 Seconds That Sums Up The Inhumanity Of Britain’s Response To The Refugee Crisis (VIDEO) | Scriptonite Daily | sdbast

  7. Extremely valid your contributions: thanks so much!!! May many more people wake up to the reality of this crisis, and stop trying to claim its someone elses responsibility to resolve, or even blame the refugees themselves for their situation. Europe has a particular responsibility for what is happening in the Middle East and South-East Asia, given its close economic ties, and the cross-cutting support for the US-UK led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan that have led to such instability and violence.

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