It’s Not a Numbers Game: Wake-up, This Is Real

One image gripped a nation, touched consciences, and turned the tide of emotion surrounding the ‘migrant crisis’ overnight. The shocking image of a three-year-old boy’s body washed up on the shores of a beach in Turkey took over people’s timelines and Twitter feeds, and showed the true reality of what has, until now, been perceived as a numbers game.

According to one article, the Office for National Statistics states that annual net migration to Britain has hit a record level of 330,000. Another article stated: ‘hundreds of thousands of migrants are flooding into Europe from Syria and Africa, leaving a number of countries struggling to cope.’

Migration has been a numbers game. Those seeking a safe haven and travelling across land and sea are fleeing their homes, yet the article states ‘a number of countries are struggling to cope’. It seems the lack of emotion surrounding the crisis has been removed and the monopolization and preservation of land has overturned the sovereignty of human lives.

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Britain has a history of imperialism. The borders of the world were entered into and lands were colonised. After this, Britain opened its borders to the countries it colonized as a peace-making method, and after this we experienced globalisation.

People came to the UK and Europe to find a new home, earn money and settle. This is called immigration. Let us not conflate this term with ‘refugee’ which is the term we should be using.

But it is not even a ‘refugee crisis’. It is a ‘humanitarian crisis’.

It is a shame we had to see the picture of a three-year-old Syrian boy in order to realise the reality of this situation.

Was it necessary to see the picture? Yes. Because, over-night consciences have been stirred and the realisation that people are willing to get on a boat, sacrifice their lives, and risk death for the chance to live, has dawned upon the nation.

Today’s front covers reflected the change in sentiment:

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It is paramount that people are conscious about what they consume on a daily basis, and to develop their own opinion on issues because even the media can change its mind.

Vienna was the first city to hold a protest for welcoming refugees. People took to the streets to fight for refugees’ entry into the city to seek solace.

Now, a petition in the UK has reached over 100,000 signatures so the government will have to review the current inaction it is taking to help those entering the country for asylum.

One question that has been circulating is: what shall we do now?

Well, it is progress that we have recognised the people on the boat as people rather than numbers. It is progress that a petition will instigate a review from our government. In my opinions, both short-term and long-term solutions require solidarity.

A short-term solution is to set-up refugee camps in the countries those are fleeing to, and helping with food, drink, and shelter, as monopolizing land for the sake of lives is not the answer.

The long-term and feasible solution, it seems, is to restore peace in the countries people are fleeing from; thus, solidarity in working together to make the world a better place.