Have you seen the pictures of little Aylan?
Have you cried tears for a little boy you didn’t even know like I have?
Wasn’t he cute? A world away, in more ways then just geographically. The world has seen the DEVASTATION of the crisis in Syria and so many other parts of our world washed ashore on a peaceful beach. Ironic. A picture that will last in our minds for a while, but probably, not as long enough as it should.
The reasons are complex. Way over my head really. I can not fathom the fear and necessity a mother and father would face to get on a boat bound for anywhere that doesn’t include a buffet breakfast and a kid’s club. Little Aylan was just one in 19 million people that are seeking a safe place to call home. That is almost the entire population of Australia!
My hope is that the picture of a little boy washed ashore will spur us into action. We can not sit back and watch any longer.
I have read many articles on this and I think Scott Higgins from Baptist World Aid sums this up as simply as possible,
“First, we need to work harder to help countries stop persecuting their minority groups, so that fewer people are forced to flee and those who have fled can return home. Diplomacy and a strong
aid program are key measures
to achieve this. Second, we need members of the international community to equitably share responsibility for protecting refugees who cannot return home. This means industrialised countries like Australia must accept more refugees than we
do at present; host countries
with manageable numbers
such as Malaysia and Indonesia must improve conditions for refugees and offer pathways for them to become citizens; and
the handful of host countries
with overwhelming numbers of refugees must be assisted by the rest of us.
What would it mean for Australia to make a start on this? First, we could substantially increase the number of refugees we accept. We have an annual immigration program of 190,000. We could quite comfortably double, triple or even quadruple our refugee intake.
Second, we could find positive rather than punitive ways to stop people making the dangerous sea journey from Indonesia to Australia. People get on boats because it is too dangerous to return home, they are unwelcome where they are, and only a tiny fraction are offered resettlement in a third country. They are stuck. We can change that. Give people some certainty about when and where they will be settled and they have no need to board a boat, we have no reason to lock them up, and there will be no boats to turn around. This could be achieved via an agreement with Indonesia to jointly process and settle the rather small number of refugees that enter their country. Meanwhile we work to expand
this agreement to include other countries in our region, until we have a system in which
the supply of the protection matches the demand.
We have done it before. In just three years after the Second World War we welcomed over 150,000 refugees. In the 1980s Australia, the US, Malaysia and Vietnam formed an agreement to ensure protection for those fleeing Vietnam, and there were years we welcomed more than 20,000 refugees.”
To learn more go to A just cause’s website
If you, like me, look at the picture of little Aylan lying there in the sand and can imagine the moment his mum first held him. All the times she would have picked him up, changed his nappy, chastised him for climbing on the furniture or wiped his mouth as he tried to eat a fist full of sand. If you know that a mother’s heart beats the same no matter where in the world she is, let this be a wake up call. Mother’s of the world, we need to hold onto each others babies. We need to make our world a home that they can grow up in. It will be hard. Being a mum is hard. But we can do hard things. Really! No one is going to care as much as we do. This has woken me up from just ‘wishing’ for a better world, I am going to figure out how I can take action. Because no child is ‘someone else’s. We are responsible for all the children.
If you need something to do today, start here with many wonderful organisations like Save the Children and World Vision who are on the ground now.
Rest in Peace little Aylan. The arms of all the mummies in the world are holding you tight.