Earlier this summer, a young child drowned off the coast of Greece as his family tried to reach Europe aboard a fragile boat from war-torn Syria. Images of his limped body being carried away from the beach hit the headlines, as ordinary folks struggled to understand the desperation driving refugees to escape.
If you had to leave your home, your family, your job, your belongings, it must be for a serious reason.
It was only a few decades ago, and yet we had forgotten. In the not so distant past, children escaped the devastation, poverty and hunger from war, leaving Spain to escape from Franco’s troops into France and Russia. And from Germany and the occupied territories into England.
What has changed? As a society, we have a moral responsibility towards one another- a responsibility that makes us part of being human and that, in our list of priorities, should rank higher than preserving the status quo.
If we traced our family tree further up the line, what would we discover? Someone is bound to have suffered against the odds at some point. And some of our ancestors would have wanted to escape conflict.
These stories put together amount to a bigger narrative, one that is likely to change Europe and how it interacts with other countries. We are already seeing true colours among other countries in the EU. And now lies the future ahead, the bigger opportunity to integrate refugees and capitalise in their talents, enthusiasm and hard work to build a better future for everyone. Let’s make the most of it.