I don’t know where to begin or even what I want to say. Like so many others I feel utterly useless today. Here in the privileged bloated West we have seen a picture of a little boy, a beautiful little boy lying face down. He looks utterly relaxed, his hands turned palm up, his wee feet stretched out. I’ve seen my own beautiful child lying in a similar position so many times. The difference is she was in her cot and then later in her bed, or on our sofa. Safe and warm in her own home. But that wee boy is lying on a beach in Turkey and he is dead. He drowned as a refugee trying to escape to safety. His brother and his mum died along with him.
But what can I do? That’s a question many people ask themselves about all the pain and suffering we see in our world. Can I stop the refugee crisis? No, of course not. Can I go to help? Apart from the fact that a well meaning but untrained volunteer is the last thing that refugees need in their faces, my own family circumstances mean I can’t travel to Syria or to Lebanon or to Calais or to any of the many many other places around the world where my neighbours need help. I can donate money to various charitable organisations, I knit hats and jumpers for a little charity in Turkey that helps Syrian refugees in camps there. I can help organise collections of much needed items in my local community and get them to people who can get them to Calais. I can organise grocery shopping for the women’s refuge in my county. I can go to coffee mornings to help children with illnesses and disabilities. I can do all of these things and I try to.
I wonder is the most important thing the one that in many ways is the easiest to do. I can and will bear witness. I will not turn away when I see these pictures. I do and will continue to get angry, to question, to ask, to read, to listen, to think and to learn about why such things are happening and what we as a world can do to help our sisters and brothers. I encourage, no I implore everyone reading this to do the same. Don’t turn away and bury yourself in a superficial world of entertainment, so called reality TV, celebrity happenings and other amusing stuff. Yes that all has a place but don’t ignore what is happening in the world. Don’t think you can’t do anything. You can. You can bear witness. You can get angry and demand answers. You can let those in power know that you are watching. For those of you in Ireland, you can sign this petition and demand that our Government allow more than a few hundred refugees in to our country.
I cry every time I see that picture of little Aylan Kurdi. And then I get annoyed with myself and vow not to cry any more, my tears are useless, they don’t achieve anything. Then I realise that the day I stop crying for the wrongs and injustices in this world is a bad bad day.
Members of the Irish Parenting Bloggers have come together in a blog-hop to share their thoughts on the current crisis and to let people know what they can do to help. Click on the link below to read our posts and please feel free to spread the word by sharing on social media platforms using the hashtag #ReadFeelAct.
If you want to do something to help, here are a few suggestions:
- Sign the petition to ask the Irish Government to do more to help. Just click here. For anyone in the UK you can sign a similar petition here.
- There are numerous charities helping the refugees crossing the Mediterranean sea. Please, please donate even a few euro to Medecins Sans Frontieres, Amnesty International, or Trocaire.
- Alternatively, if you’d like to be part of a very worthy organised event the Irish Parenting Bloggers have organised a virtual coffee (or tea!) morning – check out and ‘like’ the Facebook Event page here – to help raise much needed funds for the Ireland Calais Refugee Solidarity Campaign. On Friday, September 11 just pour yourself a cuppa; go to http://www.irelandcalaisfund.ml/ and make a donation to the fund (we suggest €5 per person but please give what you can) and upload a screenshot of your donation plus a pic of yourself enjoying your cuppa to your Facebook page or other social media channels and tell your followers all about it. Then just link to this event to encourage your friends and family to take part too.