Pirates Abroad: SU Student Attends Refugee Action Rally in Parliament Square
By: Nick Hurter
Over the past year, a video of a girl went viral. The video showed a few seconds each day of a red haired girl in England, from one birthday to another. It is her birthday, all of her friends and family around her. Excitement fills the air. Then, second by second, the environment around her changes rapidly, bombs going off in the streets and gas filling her struggling lungs. Her red locks become thin and falls out in patches. The once proud family is on the run, carrying what belongings they can. Her father is suddenly taken away, with the her pleas hanging fruitlessly in the air.
The once happy expression is gone, with a weary, tear-stained face taking its place. The video ends with the girl, once full of life, now a hollow shell of the beauty she was only a year past. She has no strength to blow out the candle on the cake in front of her. We are left with the haunting words, “Just because it isn’t happening here, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.”
The video is an advertisement for the Save The Children Charity Organization based in London. Made to raise awareness of the crisis in Syria, it captivated millions of viewers and made them look deeper into the issue. But with the recent flood of refugees towards Europe, the United Kingdom has remained strict on their policy about asylum seekers and refugees.
The Migration Observatory reported that the United Kingdom made a decision on only twenty percent of people seeking asylum. Of that meager twenty percent, over sixty percent were denied asylum. In 2014, less than 2000 people were granted asylum out of 24,914 total applications submitted. With the influx of refugees entering Europe, there has been building tension between the policy makers and the people of the United Kingdom.
This past Saturday, a large protest in Parliament Square brought tens of thousands of people supporting the refugee movement, according to Police. The Solidarity with Refugees March’s aim was to convince the British government to do more in response to the crisis, calling it the “largest refugee crisis since World War 2” according to the Refugee Action website.
Newly appointed Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn attended the rally, giving a speech to urge the government to look into their hearts about the issue.
He stated “We are all humans. We all have a sense of decency and humanity and reaching out to others. I am shocked and appalled that so many and so much of our media…describe desperate people and desperate situations as ‘The Problem.’…”
Corbyn’s outrage at the lack of acceptance of refugees and asylum seekers reflected the ideas of many of the protesters, who carried signs, many of which demanded the need for change in governmental policy. Even more of the signs were less political, simply supporting the refugees as human beings.
In Corbyn’s speech, he declared that the United Kingdom “has the responsibility to ensure those people are properly cared for and properly supported.” If the girl in the video was from Syria and seeking asylum today in the United Kingdom, it is unclear whether she would be given a safe haven on this island, or, like many others, be turned away, sent off to face an uncertain fate elsewhere.