Tuesday, 26 May 2015

A global problem at home

I'm in Scotland on my annual May trip to the Highlands but my thoughts are back in Bodrum. I've just read a disturbing report that homeless Syrians from Aleppo have been removed from Bodrum's streets because their presence is upsetting local tradesmen. What is the world coming to?  Just before I left Bodrum last week, Jake and I came across a Syrian family on the street behind our house. The tattoos on the womens' chins immediately identified their nationality but their Syrian plate car which they'd driven across the border confirmed it. The whole family of 6 and all that they owned were spending each night in the car. They asked for some money but I'd come out without my purse so I couldn't give them anything.  I felt guilty for the whole day and when we walked back that way in the evening, their car was there but no sign of the family.  The next morning I took them breakfast and asked them what they were going to do. They shrugged their shoulders. What can they do? Their home town has been bombed. They have no money and no chance of earning any and there are at least 2,000,000 more in the same awful position. No one wants them. Every day, 50, 100 and sometimes greater numbers are picked up in unsafe boats trying to cross the Aegean to Europe. There seems to be no solution to this massive humanitarian disaster happening on our doorstep. I am being hypocritical to criticise authorities for moving on these hopeless souls because I didn't offer them a place to stay, and I hate myself for not doing so. Giving them breakfast or a bit of ready cash just made me feel a bit better, it did nothing to help sort out their problem. What on earth is going to happen to these poor folk? 

19 comments:

  1. B to B, It seems as though there is no end to this terrible tragedy and to tell the truth, I don't think most of them will ever return. Your sentiments are admirable and are a contrast with many in Turkey who are becoming hostile to their presence. Most of all, I wonder where are the people of the U.S. and Europe whose governments so enthusiastically invaded, bombed and flooded the region with the most high tech killing weapons which resulted in ruining the lives of so many millions?

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    1. No one is helping them. If they were street dogs they would get more help.

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  2. It seems like a problem the world is trying to pretend isn't there. When we were in Istanbul in April, that was our first physical sighting of the problem and there just seems to be no answers until the whole international community acts...but Syria always seems to be so far down its list. So sad.

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    1. The whole world is blaming these poor people for being on the move.

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  3. At least you did something. Don't beat yourself up. It was more than most would do. I am also very concerned for these people. Just moving them on (sweeping under the carpet) where they will be moved on again...and again...does nothing to solve the problem. It's heartbreaking. I don't know what we can do...if anything? There must be something.

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  4. with the exception of natural disasters the cause of refugees fleeing is always - always the capitalist economic system and the political facilitators in the so-called 'developed' world. I include us, the privileged minority, who insist on sustaining our unsustainable lifestyles at the expense of the majority. People, generally, tend to stay in place unless they are forced to move/flee by war, famine, lack of opportunity, persecution, land-grab, etc. All of those causes, including very often famine, have there roots in the system.

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    1. When the war migrants meet from the Eastern Med meet the war migrants from Africa, somewhere in the middle of Europe, maybe then these governments will pull their fingers out.

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  5. I read yesterday that those people were put on a bus to Söke where, I guess, tourists will not have to look at them.

    I don't know what will happen to these people. There was a family of Syrians living in Selçuk in a house that belongs to the Roman Catholic Church. The parents have been accepted into Sweden. The adult children remain and have no idea what will happen to their ambitions, their education. Though they, at least, have a house.

    We have given some good but unwanted clothing (pair of boots, bought too small, worn once) to some friends with good contacts. So much of what people have given has disappeared into second hand shops etc.

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    1. Can your friend give us some ideas of how to give practical help?

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  6. So very sad, I really feel for them too and it needs a proper solution. Thousands of tents near Reyhanli, where my aunt lives, they try to help but the scale of it is so huge.. You have done such goodness, I am sure they appreciated greatly.

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    1. I don't know how we can start to help 2,000, 000 in camps. I could even help one family.

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  7. You did something....governments, with all their resources seem to refuse to do anything.

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    1. Refugee aid is now becoming big business I hear. Cheap labour or Twenty first century slave camps.

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  8. Sending you big hugs, B2B. I recognize that feeling of frustration and guilt, but if everyone made the effort that you made for that family, then part of the discomfort for these people could easily disappear. One person in ten, if that, probably show the compassion you had - and strangely enough, they are the ones who feel bad they didn't do more... To quote Bush (father, not son): "We can't help everybody, but everybody can help someone". That's what you did. And I'm sure that the family in question will remember your kindness, which must have been a welcome light for them in a dark time. Hugs xxx

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    1. The level of antagonism in the UK newspapers towards these helpless people is unbelievable. I'm shamed to share a passport with them.

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  9. Sadly, attitudes towards refugees are hardening everywhere. As the problems deepen, our common humanity wears thin.

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    1. Following on your post about shoes. If we walked one day in the shoes of these refugees, I think attitudes would change.

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  10. I can't speak about Turkey, but in the UK attitudes are hardening all the time, egged on by the likes of UKIP and the right-wing tabloids, who increasingly demonise refugees and asylum-seekers. Until some kind of peace can be brought to the Middle East the tide of helpless humanity won't be stopped. Well done for doing your bit to help.

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