“Why don’t they stay and fight?”

When talking about supporting and rehoming refugees in our lovely little town of Bude, I’ve occasionally heard this question. To help answer it, here’s a nice little exercise. Simply work through the following scenarios until you have an answer.

Scenario 1

You are asleep in your bed, with your family around you.  You awake suddenly to sound of breaking glass, and immediately afterwards, a heavy rock lands on your bed, between you and your partner.  You run to edge of your window and look out to see two men throwing rocks at every window in the front of your house.  You shout at them, they throw rocks at you instead.  You decide to put and end to this by going outside with a cricket bat with which you hope to fight back.  Dodging the rocks, you fight off your assailants.

Do you decide to leave your house, or fix it up and stay?  Will they come back tomorrow?

Scenario 2

You are asleep in your bed, with your family around you. You awake suddenly to sound of breaking glass and shouting.  Sounds like every house in your street is under attack by men armed with rocks, perhaps the best thing to do is escape out the back, leading your family to safety at the bottom of the garden.  You open the back door to be met by a shower of rocks.  Grabbing your trusty cricket bat, you try to fight off your assailants, and somehow your bravado convinces the assailants to leave.

Do you leave your house, or fix it up and stay, all the while hoping this doesn’t happen again?

Scenario 3

This time its men with hand guns.  When seeking cover, your 4 year old daughter cuts her head open on some broken glass as she hides under a table.

If only you were brave enough to fight back!

Scenarios 4 – n…

  • Men with automatic weapons waking you up at night
  • A member of your family is killed
  • Its not safe to go to your place of worship
  • Schools are closed
  • Your house is unihabitable
  • Artillery fire
  • Food and water are hard to come by.  The sewage system no longer works
  • Militias roam the streets, there is a curfew
  • You can’t easily tell who is a foreign soldier fighting for your cause, or against your cause
  • You can’t tell which of your countrymen are pro-government, or anti-goverment
  • The local hospital is no longer treating anything but life-threatening wounds
  • Aerial bombardment by any forces – you can’t tell who is bombing you

Which scenario would make you decide to risk your family’s lives by fleeing to a place of safety?

The majority of us in Britain have never suffered an armed conflict.  We are de-sensitised by television, films and games.  We have no idea what its like to have a rock through a window, let alone a gun pointed at us.  Even the older generations in this country, those who remember The Blitz or the evacuation, can still ask this ridiculous question.

Turn your back on tribalism, fascism, UKIP, Farage and Trump.  Instead, face those who suffer, and give them what you can – even if its just a smile.  You have no idea of the true horrors from which they seek refuge.

If you wish to donate cash, or find out about how to help in the local area, look at this Facebook page Bude Welcomes Refugees

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