This week I have had a shock or two. the first shock was the images of the poor three-year-old Syrian child, dead on the seashore which has affected me in ways I cannot easily explain. It’s not just a knee jerk reaction to something that every parent or grandparent dreads, it is more than that.
The photograph which some people have said sensationalises what has been happening in the Mediterranean now for months is the media industries way of selling more newspapers.
Part of the cynical media type that I am would agree with that sentiment, but the power of this photograph is that it offers the viewer no hiding place from the true horror which is that for the most part, we are individually powerless to help.
This is the first time in my life I have felt total helplessness, the dreadful feeling that I could not help even if I wanted to.
I feel deeply saddened that it takes something like this, (which has happened over 1200 times in the past couple of years) to bring it home to me, someone who lives in a nice safe haven that these people need help.
The help they need is not benefits or handouts but a safe place to live, so they can bring up their children in a place where they will not be bombed, gassed or shot at on a daily basis.
The second shock I have had is that some people who I thought I knew as decent hardworking caring individuals who without a blink of an eye are saying that is not our problem, we are overcrowded already and that they are only coming here to sponge of our benefits system. These people have broken my heart.
I am appalled by this viewpoint, as an individual I would expect that if I needed help then someone would care enough to help me just out of human decency.
My world has become a little less shiny and a little darker this week just because some people don’t care about anything unless it’s on their doorstep.
So this weeks rant is over and having calmed down little I have discovered I am not alone in thinking like this.
Amol Rajan, editor of the Independent and his team (who I have to say have hearts of lions), the people who were brave enough to have published the horrific image on the front page of the newspaper in the first place have started the #refugeeswelcome campaign. At the centre of this campaign is a petition asking David Cameron to accept that Britain takes its fair share of refugees seeking safety in Europe. At my last look, it had around 300,000 people just like me signing up to make a difference.
To David Cameron’s credit, he has apparently bowed to pressure by announcing the UK will take in “thousands more” Syrian refugees, but having a healthy distrust of politicians the key details surrounding his pledge remain anything but clear. These people need help now, not after months of prevarication that will ensue in people negotiating the detail.
The real disgrace is this whole sorry affair is that it takes the tragic death of a three-year-old boy and his brother laying on a beach to make us all act in a way we should have before the tragedy struck.