Memes shared on Twitter and Facebook have long been berating people from other countries for entering Britain country illegally and getting jobs, houses, cars, served on a plate.
The memes aim to create anger and fear amongst hard-working people struggling to make ends meet with rising prices, lower wages, and other real-life struggles (that’s most of us, then).
But think for a moment. Read between the lines. You no doubt want the best for your family: for your children and other loved ones to be safe, secure, with a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. For your children to be happy, to achieve their potential.
People migrate for all sorts of reasons, and those arriving in this country whether legally or illegally want the same thing, too. I cannot pretend to know what it feels like to be a refugee – to feel like you have no choice but to leave behind everyone and everything you know, your home, most of your possessions and embark on a perilous journey in the hope of a better future, because I have no idea.
But I can empathise, I can try to put myself in the shoes of people risking their lives to get here and arriving on these shores with no idea of what awaits them.
I remember that migrants are humans too.
I don’t know what the answer is – this isn’t a post about political doctrine.
It is about humanity.
History has plenty of warnings for us to take heed from: for example, in 1930s Germany the Nazi Party used socially-acceptable casual anti-Semitism to scapegoat Jewish people (and other groups hated by the Nazis such as Communists, gypsies, and gays) for the country’s problems. Draconian measures, implemented gradually over a period of a few years led to the horrors of the Holocaust.
You may think it is an extreme example, but it is not.
Remember that the posts denigrating migrants are there not to inform, but to incite fear and anger.
A click on ‘share’ or ‘retweet’ takes just a moment, and you may think it does no harm. But please take an extra moment to think about the people in the image, the story behind the words before spreading more propaganda, hate, and fear.
And fear and anger can escalate, which can lead to suffering – for us all.
These words below from Yoda might be from a fictional character – and without wanting to belittle such a serious issue I include this quote here because I can think of no better way to sum it up.
Remember our humanity, we must.