My interest in Public Health and desire to work for an NGO in the future means I actively follow the work many of them daily. Last night I read about the 541 passengers on the MSF Argos vessel who were rescued from the Mediterranean Sea after coming into difficulty on the same day whilst attempting to flee from their homelands.
Wednesday the 13th of July saw four people drown in the exact same sea which is quickly becoming a mass grave for the ten thousand refuges who have drowned in its waters in the last three years. These are not facts and numbers these are people, people whose stories have not and will not make national papers; this cannot be ignored any longer. How many more people have to die in this situation, how many more are stuck in refugee camps or submitted to public hate because they are not seen as refugees but illegal immigrants?
The problem stems for the similar definitions for the terms migrant and refugee; and how people rarely understand the difference. Migrants choose to leave there homes in search of a better life for themselves, refugees flee their homes to escape war and the violence it includes often with no belongings or no idea of where they will go. We spend enough time and newspaper pages enlightening the world to the work of war bringers and their antics often just listening the dead as numbers. There is not enough talk about the victims, the people who did not die but lost everything and with nowhere to go and then head for the borders, or more dangerously the sea.
We need to take a stand; even the BBC spreads this confusion by naming the refugee crisis the ‘european migrant crisis’, the politicians do the same. Using a word in its incorrect form, misrepresenting people incites fear, why should we fear these people who have nothing to loose but everything to gain, the tenacity and the drive to engage in dangerous acts to be safe; people who have skills we could use and develop. A society who spend some much time preach tolerance of homosexuality, transsexuality and equality, so why aren’t these people granted the same rights?