NOT IN MY BACKYARD
How can one witness the journey of a young child and her family across continents and not be moved to help? Thousands have drowned crossing the Mediterranean. The response to human suffering has not been compassion, but fear and hate. There is no crisis of capacity or resources, but a crisis of political will and heightened xenophobia. With terrorism taking centre-stage in our political discourse, the question of refugees and associated risk is posed regularly, but refugees are afraid of exactly the same thing that everyone else is: Islamist terrorism. Many are fleeing areas held by the Islamic State. Alternatively, can one live in a developed country, given their increasing crime rates, without an equal amount of risk? Evidence has it that the terrorism risk posed by refugees is minuscule, the effect on the host nation’s jobs and economy is a net positive, and refugees are less likely to commit crimes than the average citizen. So, why wouldn’t we want them in our back yard? Fear can mangle a society into changing its values and transforming it into something hideous. Courage is all it takes to not condemn families to horrific, unimaginable suffering and uncertain fates.