I’m sometimes reticent about including news commentary in my blog – it seems trite and inappropriate to include large scale human tragedy in amongst fluffy fashion writing. However, I feel I can’t ignore the refugee crisis in Europe.
The pitiful image of three-year-old Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi, washed up on a beach in Turkey has become emblematic of the unfolding humanitarian disaster. We finally understand that only those with no other options would attempt the journey across the Mediterranean Sea in a rickety dingy. What horrors these people are fleeing are incomprehensible to our sheltered Western sensibility. Perhaps the hostility and xenophobia directed at ‘Migrants’ is because we can’t imagine what it’s like to face depravity, persecution, rape and barbaric violence on a grand scale.
It’s interesting that Germany has agreed to take 800,000 refugees. Germany is a bigger and richer country than the UK, however they seem to be one of few nations that has learnt from history. Make no mistake, future historians will judge us harshly if we fail to respond with compassionate action.
This time of year I often write about buying new season coats, how facile and ridiculous that seems in the context of the biggest refugee crisis since World War Two. There are organisations accepting donations of clothes and supplies that will be taken to Calais. The internet facilitates multiple ways to help and get involved. If you can, buy a coat for a refugee. If not, give a small amount of money or send clothes and supplies; do whatever you can. Don’t assume it’s somebody else’s problem, we have a collective moral responsibility to help.
Of course there are vulnerable, needy people here at home too. The stricken body of little Aylan Kurdi, face down on the beach like Pinocchio after battling a whale, is a reminder that we are all human. And as such, we are all connected. It’s easy to bury our heads in our own lives and forget the suffering on the doorstep. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what to do to; there are charitable organisations that can guide the way to assisting people in your community. There are a myriad of ways to make a difference, even it’s a relatively tiny gesture it still counts. All happiness balances on a knife edge, you never know when the tables will turn and it might be you who needs help. Either volunteer or donate money, but do take action.
You can send donations of clothes, food and medical supplies for refugees to: