This is a completely different post for me; I’m a wedding blogger, this is a bridal and beauty blog. What am I doing? These thoughts briefly run through my head, but I can’t make peace with this, I can’t accept it. I can’t write a post about wedding trends and ideas, or makeup and beauty tips. This image has been all over the news today and it haunts me; as a mother, as a human being. This isn’t right, and yet it’s happening, right on the shores of our countries. I’m deeply unsettled, in my soul; I can’t relax, this image is seared on my mind, I am moving from one room to another in my house, sat aghast, hand over mouth, a look of shock and horror and heartbreak written across my face.
What I don’t understand it this: this is the biggest migration of people, of human beings, this world has seen since the holocaust. Coming from a family who made the tough, difficult and perilous journey from the poverty stricken Calabrian region of Italy in the 1800’s, or anyone who watches Who Do You Think You Are, or any of those ancestry tracing programmes, I can’t help but see the unbelievably striking similarities. We’ve all watched one of those programmes, where the descendant breaks down in tears at the struggles their ancestors went through to leave the country they were from, which they loved, their home, the price they paid – and I don’t mean just money – to make their way to a better country, with better prospects where they could live out their dream, which was almost always to live their life, work hard, better themselves and raise their family in a safe place, that has opportunities. That’s all these people, or anyone, you and I, want; a chance, and opportunity.
What is so different about this “migrant crisis” across Europe? Tell me. I’m sure, in years to come, that these very same migrants’ descendants will learn about, look back in sheer horror and realise the struggles their ancestors went through, what they lost in their efforts to flee war torn countries. These descendants will cry their tears, aghast and shocked at the hardship their families faced to flee their home countries and flee to safety. What I don’t understand is, how anyone who comes from a migrant family, or who even watches these programmes or has ever searched their own ancestry, can honestly feel sympathy and empathy for their ancestors, and yet turn their eyes, hearts and attention away from what is going on right now, right here. It makes no sense to me. Have we evolved as a race to become that selfish and greedy that we don’t want migrants in our country, on our back door that we are letting this happen? We are allowing ourselves, as a people, as a nation, as human beings, to become the hardships, the cruel people, the struggles that these migrants have to overcome in order to just survive; live a life, safely.
Why this image? Why this story? Why is this the image that haunts me? Because it’s the ones that are lost and their families who will never know, that pulls at my heart strings the most. I hope that the parents and family of this baby boy didn’t survive. Didn’t live to know or even dare to allow themselves to think the worst of what happened to their child. To let the devastating reality slip into their minds that their precious little boy was washed up on a distant shore like some piece of rubbish. He died, he paid with his life for something that is not his doing, that is beyond his control or even comprehension.
To hear the UK’s Prime Minister speak on this subject essentially saying that Britain has done and is doing enough sickens me to the very pit of my stomach. That pretty much makes this boy washing up on the shores of Turkey okay! If Britain is doing enough, then does that make this acceptable? Would his or our standpoint be different if there were children washing up on our own shores? This is not something which our leaders’ can pass the buck on. The front line countries, like Greece and Italy, cannot and must not be forced to bear the load on their own, we must all pull our weight as members of humanity.
I recently watched the documentary, The Lorry Jumpers, on Channel 4, which found “likeable” personalities to follow, as they tried to get from Calais to England, in order to get us to like the “characters” of the story, to feel empathy for them, to wish them well and success on their journey. If the truth be known, if we all knew, and got to hear the heart breaking story of each individual and family, we would most likely, quite happily, welcome them into our community, let them live here, help them get on their feet. But that brings me to this question: since when did it become okay for one human to determine another human’s right to life? Why must our leaders and government make it so damn hard for people to enter a place of peace, a land of milk and honey, a land of opportunity? Have we switched the race row to a place of birth row? How can we say that the Syrian refugees deserve a helping hand but those from other war torn and ravaged countries don’t?
These images are the most powerful images and documentation of the crisis of humanity, not just migrants, that I have ever encountered or witnessed. They caused something inside me to sit up, take note, stop what I was doing and try to make a difference. I hope and pray that our leaders and governments haven’t become so desensitized to the “migrant crisis” situation that these images have no affect at all, and that nothing is done to change this; to stop this. At the beginning of this post, this boy was a nameless child, during the course of writing, I have discovered his name and the devastating news that his 5 year old brother also died in that sea. I am a mother, I have two children; to think of them washing up on a beach chills me to the bone, as it would to any other parent I’m sure. But something’s gotta give. This cannot go on, cannot be allowed to happen. There is an article in The Independant which you can read here, which is proof that the public, the everyday man and woman, are willing and want to help, to do their part, to give what they can, and their response was overwhelming! But the authorities, the leaders and the government are taking ever more steps to make even these small gestures stop. Those that have more, should give more, likewise those countries who have more opportunities should give more opportunities. I don’t have much, but what I do have I would happily share and give. So I say we should open up the routes, open up the borders, let them come, help them along the way, welcome them, do what we can and remember we are all humans. We must be good to each other, look out for each other. And as much as we should not discriminate against race or skin colour, neither should we discriminate against country of birth or origin or rate one war more ravaging and devastating than another.
I hope that this post, and these images touched you, and I ask that you share it, get it out there, spread the word. This is happening, and it must stop.
Love, Gabriella x