Ignorance is bliss. Three words that have defined British Values for hundreds of years.
We didn’t care that colonisation meant the murder of thousands of innocent natives, as long as we had our tea and tobacco.
We didn’t care that British ships were taking hundreds of thousands of Africans around the world to be used as slaves, as long as our economy was prosperous.
And we didn’t care about the refugees from Syria until a photo of one little boy washed up dead on the beach, became headline news around the world.
As the world mourned Aylan Kurdi, two different ideologies began to clash. Those who wanted us to help and those who didn’t.
Social media can be a vicious tool for someone to spout all kinds of different opinions. They are able to hide behind a computer screen, sat in their comfy chairs in their warm houses and it is these small minded people that think that Britain is still a holy empire, home of proud bulldogs with an illustrious and honourable history.
They reel off status after status saying how Britain is an island for the British people, they share photos of military men with the caption “we fought for our freedom, not theirs” and they comment vile abuse to those who oppose them.
The other side of social media however shows the vast generosity and warm hearts of people willing to open their homes to those in need but unfortunately, for us, this is a problem.
The Facebook community love to share feel good stories, we see these people offering up their homes and it gives us a great sense of relief, but not because we are happy for the refugees getting somewhere to go, but because we think the problem is solved.
Let a few refugees stay with this nice family in Milton Keynes and then we don’t actually have to do anything ourselves. Wonderful!
The problem we face is that the vast majority of people think that this refugee crisis can simply be solved by Great Britain and America opening up their borders to the thousands of people seeking refuge, after all aren’t we are the ones who decided to supply the Syrian rebels with weapons and then bomb the homes of these innocent people?
The first port of call countries that these Syrian refugees are fleeing to are buckling under the pressure of processing these people, countries like Hungary, Egypt and Greece lack the ability and fiscal power to resettle them.
The obvious solution is for nations like the United States, Britain and others to send processing teams to Budapest, Athens and the other major entry points to register refugees and process them for admission.
We are just at the start of this crisis, it will take years for these refugee camps to empty, for people to be registered and then resettled in a new country for the new life that they so desperately need.
The public perception may have changed drastically in the last few weeks but people need to understand there is no quick fix for this situation. Eventually the press will decide to cover something else and this ‘crisis’ will be have been reduced to a 300 word opinion piece in the back of The Mail.
However appalling it may be, we need keep these images of crisis in the limelight to force the powers that be to make the changes required until there are no more photos left to share.
Aylan Kurdi’s death may have sparked the conversation, but that is just the tip of the iceberg.
He will not be the last refugee to die.