Yesterday I saw an image I didn’t want to see. I’d heard about it and was hoping it wouldn’t pop up on any of my social media feeds. My hoping was short-lived and I saw it on my way back from Kilkenny with my husband. An image of a little boy washed up on the shore. I was shocked and I cried. And the conflict, the displacement of so many helpless families, their living hell all became very real.
I’m annoyed at myself that it took this dreadful image to attract my full attention and sympathy for those involved in the ongoing refugee crisis. Normally I get very annoyed when the media splashes shocking images like this across newspapers, but this image has had a wide impact, has already been dubbed iconic and shook us all into action.
With so many news stories about conflicts around the world, it feels like they’re never ending and it’s nearly impossible to keep track of it all. I’ve tried to keep up to date, but when I feel powerless to make a difference, I switch off and just thank god it’s not me. But now I know he was called Aylan and his brother, Galip and mother also drowned. I think about how frightened he must have been, the agony his family have been through, and how they are just one family out of thousands who are in the very same predicament right now.
It’s hard to believe the Syrian conflict has been going on so long and that Europe is currently experiencing what is apparently the biggest mass movement of people since World War 2. In a few days the European commission will present a proposal to relocate a further 120,000 refugees, on top of the 32,000 they agreed to help in June. So far, Ireland has agreed to relocate 600 refugees, but this number looks to increase to at least 1800, as the total number of refugees seeking asylum across Europe could potentially reach 400,000.
It’s a frustrating and desperate situation to watch for ordinary citizens, but we can let our government know that we support and welcome the relocation of displaced families into Ireland. Together we can make a difference. We are not completely powerless and can use our collective voice to show our support for these vulnerable and ordinary families just like our own.
So what can WE do?
Join in. On September 11th the Irish parenting bloggers are hosting a Virtual coffee morning to raise funds for the Irish Calais Refugee Solidarity Campaign.
To join in, make yourself a cup of your favourite beverage.
Go to http://www.irelandcalaisfund.ml/ and make a donation.
Post a screen shot of your donation (we suggest €5 or whatever you can afford) and a photo of yourself enjoying your cuppa on your Facebook page, and share it with your friends.
Sign the petition to call on the Irish government to accept thousands of refugees rather than hundreds.