Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The Refugee Crisis Grows

I have blogged a couple of times about the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, including the efforts of a Texas couple to save those in peril employing a ship they purchased through their personal wealth.  It might be considered a drop in a leaky bucket but it was a visceral human response to a terrible crisis.

This year the number of migrants has doubled according to UN reports. Or are they asylum seekers? Or refugees? All these terms are used interchangeably, although they don't mean the same thing. One writer has helpfully pointed out that migrants are running to something while refugees are running from something. Of course nations have their own definitions for these terms.

Along with the growing number of migrant/refugees the body count rises. We hear about drownings, and bodies found in the hulls of ships and in the back of abandoned trucks. Earlier this summer a young man fell to his death from the wheel well of a jetliner as it approached Heathrow airport. The death toll is staggering.

Increasingly there are clashes between police and asylum seekers along European borders. And we have heard Donald Trump claim that he will build a ridiculously big security fence between the US and Mexico to keep migrants out.

What can we do as Christian individuals and communities? This year the Bridge St. Foundation made a grant to a refugee sponsorship initiative underway at St. Thomas Anglican Church across the street. I'm gratified that we did so, yet I feel that our congregation and others must become more active in sponsorship. The Canadian government claims it will allow several thousand Syrian refugees entry to this country, yet only a few have actually been permitted in. Perhaps we should see this as an election issue as concerned Christian voters.

All I know is that this is an international tragedy and we must respond, somehow.

What are your thoughts?

CBC The Current continues to cover the refugee crisis


roger said...

One can only imagine how horrible things must be for people to be escaping, knowing that the overcrowded and rickety old boat they are on has a good chance of not making it to its destination.

Today there was a photo in several newspapers showing a Turkish police officer or soldier holding the lifeless body of a 3 year old boy who was washed ashore. That just underscores the tragedy that is happening out there.

A serious and sustained international relief effort needs to be made to help these people.

David Mundy said...

That child has been identified as part of a Kurdish family which has relatives here in Canada. They received grim news that the boy and other members of the immediate family drowned. I couldn't agree more with your final sentence Roger.