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Syrian Refugee Crisis; I’m just so sad

I posted this on the Renegade Feminist Facebook page:

Dear Lovely Followers,

I am literally sick to my stomach since seeing those infamous photos. It doesn’t really make sense because I knew children were dying before seeing those photos. I was angry that we weren’t helping people already. I didn’t need to see them to get behind the cause to do something to help.

But since seeing them I feel sick. I feel guilt for all the simple luxuries in my life; freely available food, warmth, entertainment. I’ve been grappling with just eating when I am hungry because not everyone can do that. And it’s not even a recent development in this crisis nor indeed the world, so I feel guilty for only now feeling this way.

Aylan and Galip were real children with real futures, just like our children. We could have done something before this happened to them, but now it has we HAVE to do something to prevent more deaths.

I’ve had this phrase stuck in my head for a few weeks now and it just gets louder and louder in my head: If you would deny safety to innocent families, you don’t deserve that safety yourself.

So if I’m stuck on talking about the refugees for a while, please forgive me. I’m having a hard time finding importance in anything else.

This is a photo of Aylan and Galip Kurdi, the two little boys found on the Turkish beach this week. RIP little boys.

Aylan and Galip Kurdi

I wanted to repost here to save it because this wasn’t a fleeting feeling. I’m deeply saddened and am still walking around in a kind of mourning. Not just for these boys but for the other children who died in the water that night and for the other 2500 some odd refugees who have died in this crisis so far.

I read an article in Slate about 1000 refugees walking along a highway to get to Austria because they wouldn’t transport them and saw a photo of all these people walking together and it took nothing more than this for tears to fall. These people are so determined because without determination their future is bleak, if not non-existent.

Some estimates show that 200,000 Syrians may have died already, with 232 of them three years old like Aylan. But those numbers on a page don’t move one the way just seeing one lying face down in the sand has. I’m not immune to this human trait. You have to allow yourself to feel empathy and not protect yourself in times like this. Otherwise it’s too easy to decide it’s not our problem. If we can be in uproar about a lion, surely we can be in uproar enough to fix this crisis that’s killing thousands of people (both in the civil war and as refugees).

Some are and some aren’t. I was so angry about the Germany/Greece situation, but now I want to move there because I’d rather support their economy which is set to take in more than a million refugees (250k last year 800k this year) than ours which may not take 20,000.

New York Times piece about the distribution of refugees in Europe:

“A country’s population and its gross domestic product account for 80 percent of the formula used to calculate the proposed quotas. The European Commission said that larger populations and economies “are generally considered more able to shoulder greater migration pressures.”

The chart below shows that, of the larger countries with stronger economies, Germany and Sweden have accepted many more asylum seekers than the proposal would require, while France and Britain are behind. Bulgaria, Cyprus and Malta stand out as accepting more applicants than the proposal would require despite being smaller and poorer countries.”

If you want to know why Syrian’s don’t fight for their country, Vox has a great, easy to read explanation about how the Syrian civil war began and where it is now. If you don’t want to click on the link, I’ll condense it down for you; there’s no clear side to fight for. It’s an evil dictator against evil terrorists. What side would you choose? Or would you want to just get your family safe?

I’ll leave you with one last image which I saw on Attachment Feminism’s Facebook page last night. It pretty much says it all.