THOUGHTS OF A FRUITCAKE: By Carolyn Aldis
So, the news story that bothered me this week was the response to the arrival of a number of refugees from the Calais camp known as the Jungle. The people of Great Britain could have used this moment to be proud of their government choosing to reach out and help those in desperate need; many who have endured horrors that the rest of us can flick over the moment it gets a bit too gruesome, others who are just trying to get a better life for themselves.
Instead, a number of papers put photos on their front page, questioning the age of the “children” and at first I too wondered if a mistake had been made…some of them looked older than my idea of a child and I think that’s where the problem started.
The picture in my mind of a vulnerable child is a little one, aged about 7, looking bedraggled and inducing pity…but it hadn’t occurred to me that the children being referred to were older, aged between 12 and 17, all alone, their relatives either living here or in their home country.
Perhaps the wording was unfair…why didn’t the government just say they were offering vulnerable refugees a place to live and not bother with the age?
Maybe they thought that the fact they were children would soften the blow for those that find it so hard to accept that others want a life here.
Can it really be that in 2016, an MP is calling for dental checks on these refugees, to determine their age? As if they haven’t been through enough, he wants them subjected to a type of check my dog had when she arrived at the pound … hardly a welcoming gesture.
I wonder what happens if they are found to be older… does it really matter? Isn’t it time for some of us to stop standing, arms folded, picking out fault after fault and instead show a little mercy and compassion? If it was our family, our children, we would do everything to help them out.
What are we so afraid of? Not having enough? Crime going up? There are always going to be some that want to spoil life for others, unfortunately that can happen wherever we live.
Angela Merkel was attacked for her decision to welcome refugees, especially when a few behaved appallingly…but wouldn’t she have been equally criticised for turning her back on those in need, desperate to live in a place of relative ease?
There are still a number of children, some as young as 8, unaccompanied in France, wanting to live in a warm, safe place, away from the harsh living conditions they have endured for most of their lives. I hope our government does the right thing and provides for them, too.
I accept I don’t fully understand everything about the refugee crisis, but I hope that my response will always be “Refugees Welcome”; the only showing of teeth I want to see is the smiles of the reunited.