Since March 2011, the civilians of Syria have been caught up in a terrible civil war, which has killed an estimate of 200,000 people. To make matters worse, IS have been taking over parts of the country. Doing so, they have killed and tortured many civilians. Now over four millions Syrians, over half of which are children, have fled their homes in the hope of being accepted into a safer country.
The Traumatic Trigger of Transformation
During the escalating refugee crisis, UK has been a country which prevented more refugees from entering than it accepted. Now the British government has agreed to take in 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years. This figure was first released by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, on September 7 and it is likely to rise.
What prompted this sudden change of heart? The answer is a picture so devastating that most newspapers attached a “warning” to its readers of its “distressing contents”. The picture is that of a small drowned boy on a Turkish beach.
Even though pressure was building up for the UK government to take in more refugees their denial was firm; instead of aiding the refugees in Calais, they spent much time and money on preventing their entrance. However, on September 3 the response was changed over the cause of merely four days, stimulated by the startling picture. The question remaining is whether or not this was the correct response to the situation.
While it is, to many, a definite relieve that the government finally agreed to provide help for these unfortunate individuals, the cause for doing so can be seen as dubious. When the corpse of the three year old boy washed up, he was one amongst 12 refugees who drowned when their boat from Greece to Turkey capsized. Other victims included his five year old brother as well as the boys’ mother.
The UK government knew this, as well as the fact that many children had already died during their perilous journey across Europe. Hence, if the decision of letting in more refugees was based on morals, the government could have carried it out much earlier. However, required action was only taken once the majority of the public cried out, and the public cried out only when they were presented with a very clear visual representation of what was going on.
20,000 refugees may seem like many people. However, the truth is that the UK is still lagging far behind the likes of Germany whose commitment is to take in 800,000 refugees. Furthermore, Germany’s astounding figure puts the UK’s promise into perspective; the amount seems fairly small on the grand scale of affairs.
Written By Esther Grunbaum