Offer refugee families a haven
I am a hard working professional and mother and I take pride in contributing to my community.
I also happen to be an “economic migrant”, having left Greece and come to the UK in 1995 to study law and then having met my husband at Bar School.
I established my career here, we got married, started a family and the rest is history!
Crucially for the context in which I am writing, I am the grand-daughter of some brave, resourceful and, let’s face it, bloody lucky people who escaped persecution in Asia Minor against the odds and made it safely to Greek shores in the aftermath of the First World War in 1922, and built a life for themselves and subsequently their children from nothing. it was a tough life, but they did not complain.
They were the ones that made it.
The stories from that time, of the burning streets and the dead bodies floating in the sea, sound like a Grimm fairy tale when you listen to them from the safety of a cosy home at a time of peace.
My grandparents’ children, my father and his siblings, learned that, unless they worked hard, nothing would come their way.
So they worked and they worked, and they provided the foundations for their children, my generation, to flourish.
My cousin group numbers teachers, doctors, dentists and IT professionals. I am In-House Counsel for a nearby Local Authority. We are changing the world.
Because of my family’s history and my own life’s path, I am always so upset about some of the rhetoric around migration, particularly in cases such as the refugees from Syria.
People in the UK are very lucky that they haven’t experienced the horrific violence and debilitating fear of persecution, the dark absence of hope or the realisation that staying behind is more dangerous than attempting to cross the sea.
I don’t know of anybody who would not choose, in such circumstances, to do anything they can to provide a chance of a safe future for their children.
And yet the mass psyche of the population has a gut dislike and suspicion of these people, and therefore the media and politicians feel that they must follow suit. It takes a little boy drowning on the shores of Turkey for the people of the world to notice.
I appreciate that the refugee crisis has many facets and there isn’t a simple one-sided solution (which is all the more reason to co-operate with other European countries in finding sustainable holistic solutions, but that’s another story).
I am glad that Mr Cameron is now agreeing to accept refugees from the camps. I am however moved to write to implore everyone to use this impetus to do all we can as individuals to alleviate the refugees’ hardship (the Guardian has recently published an article on what individuals can do) and to exert any pressure we can in our capacity as voters in local and national elections to make sure that the UK steps up and offers sanctuary to the refugees arriving in Europe (the campaign group 38degrees has a petition that links to contacting the Council etc).
Offering to take 50 families locally in our council area would really help.
We are a district rich in resources and humanity compared to much of the world, this is the time to put both to good use.
Milton Fields Chalfont St Giles