Photo Credit: Mstyslav Chernov
You get a notification on your phone. That excited feeling rushes over you at the thought of having some human contact after five hours of reading journal articles. The screen illuminates: “Theresa May’s Brexi-”. You stop reading after that and lock the phone, because honestly who could care less at this point.
This scenario has been a daily occurrence for the past two years. It’s getting to the point now where the news should just be renamed “latest Brexit update”. This would be perfectly fine if Brexit was the only thing happening in the world, but this could not be further from the truth. Now, as I’m sure you will be happy to know, despite my opening, this article will not be about Brexit, and instead I am using this space to fill a very prominent gap in our news – this being the ongoing migrant crisis.
The migrant crisis was at the forefront of the news at its inception. Now, despite the fact that the problem is far from resolved, it has disappeared from our headlines and front pages. I understand that Brexit is massive, and I like to be kept updated on its progression every now and then. However, its domination of our news is causing us to forget other important issues. We are unknowingly ignoring the ongoing struggle the migrants are facing, and potentially, this is allowing our governments to pass legislation without proper scrutiny. We are so caught up with the intricacies of Brexit that we are becoming unaware of the sheer lack of action towards the crisis being taken by the European governments, especially the UK’s. I know this because I myself forgot about this crisis until recently.
Over Christmas some friends and I took a trip to Paris. Apart from the yellow jacket riots, I was expecting a city full of festive spirit and glamour, which I found to be present. However, something I was not prepared for was the sheer number of migrants living on the streets of Paris. I had been in the city for no less than 20 minutes and was on the train from the airport, when a young mother boarded my train. I thought little of it until she came over to me and handed me a leaflet, I expected her to be selling something, but instead it was a desperate cry for help. The leaflet explained her position as a refugee and ended with a plea for help. This woman walked the length of the train handing them out, then walked back to collect the leaflets and any donations. This was not an outlying incident, and each day that I explored the beautiful city I was reminded of the terrible ongoing crisis that we have wrongly kept ourselves separate from. Many were families, with small children. All they received were the eyes of people who didn’t care - people who didn’t see them as human.
This experience showed me that while the news doesn’t cover it anymore, the migrant crisis has not been solved, and it won’t be until people act, until people realise that they aren’t here to take your job – until people realise that they are human too. Some may refute this with the classic line: “it isn’t our problem, why don’t they just go back to their country?” But as citizens of a singular planet and race, we all hold a responsibility to one another.
This is a crisis that cannot be ignored, should not be forgotten, and will not end until we change our distant attitude towards it. Yes, Brexit is happening now. However, while Theresa and Jeremy squabble: fathers, mothers, children, are in dire need of help, and maybe if we start acknowledging that, we can begin to give it.