“A shocking invasion on the Kent coast,” is how Nigel Farage describes a small group of migrants on a Kent beach. This was accompanied by an unverified video of six people including children getting out of a dingy on a beach.
Does he think that these people wanted to leave their homeland? That they willingly risked their lives and the lives of their children because everything was hunky dory at home? We cannot imagine what life must have been like for many of these migrants. I have an inkling because for the past 5 years I have volunteered at an asylum drop-in centre. Yes, there maybe a few that are not desperate and are economic migrants, but the majority have fled from unbelievably difficult circumstances. And what right has that smug Farage to judge these people. Let him come and listen to their stories. I have sat with them, held them and cried with them. Their stories are heart rendering. They would dearly have loved to have stayed in their homeland with their families, safe and secure had circumstances been different but they were fleeing from conflict or escaping political, religious or sexually based persecution. Many people were so desperate to leave their country and get to safety that they were prepared to risk their lives and the lives of their children. Because risking their life seemed better than what they were escaping from.
Imagine getting into one of those overcrowded dinghies, crossing one of the busiest stretches of sea and knowing that you can’t swim. How terrifying must that be. And if they do arrive safely, they are greeted by “a shocking invasion on the Kent coast”. Refugees and asylum seekers are ordinary people like you and me but have had to face extraordinary struggles and continue to do so once in the UK. So, Mr Farage – There but for the Grace of God go you.
My family arrived as migrants escaping persecution at the turn of the century. My maternal and paternal grandfathers came as children with their parents from Poland. Arriving in Bristol with small children and elderly parents, carrying their belongings, they were blessed with hospitality. Thankfully Britain was a safe haven. Actually, I think their final destination was America but the captain wanting to make a quick buck — nothing changes — told them that Bristol was America and how would they know any different. When I look at our American family who came later and got off in the right place, I wonder what our lives would have been like. Our American cousins did very well and prospered better than the British Felsteins. But I am thankful that my ancestors managed to escape and know that one can never take safety for granted – as we all know right now.
I know this is a bit of a preachy blog but reading those comments with the experience I have of refugees and asylum seekers made me really angry.
Have a good weekend
“Let’s be careful out there”