My heart hurts and I feel worried, even scared at what the people and children of Syria are going through. When you’re not in a good place but you care so very deeply, with a big and heavy heart it’s hard to balance what you can do with what you want to do. I don’t know what I can do to help because I’m currently attempting to keep a roof over mine and my son’s head. A Facebook friend recently posted showing their text to Oxfam donating four euro. In their post about the text, was an appeal for others to text a donation with a confident statement that everyone has four euro to spare. It hurts to say it but no actually, we don’t all have four euro spare. I know I don’t. I had felt an indescribable fear before seeing that post, a fear for the Syrian refugees and I care overwhelmingly for their safety. But my reality in the midst of my first world privilege, is that I currently have eleven euro in my account to keep me and my son fed or warm for the next week. In fact, I’ve had to transfer the eleven euro out of my overdrawn account in case any direct debits remove that few euro I’m able to use. Let me just say that austerity bites.
I’m scared because of the situation our government has put many of us in. I’m scared for the Syrian’s who are depending on the support, help and assistance that they so desperately need and most definitely support they at the very least deserve, as human beings. I’m scared because for humanity to get a massive wake up call it took the sight of a precious three year old boy lying dead on a beach before many would help or realised their help is needed. I’m scared for the children who are frightened, lost, cold and in terrible danger. I’m scared for the parents of those children who can neither protect their children nor themselves. I’m horrified that the governments these innocent people depend on for help, may be massively to blame for the disaster unfolding. I’m scared because our government in Ireland have been so incapable of looking after the vulnerable people in their own country, that I don’t trust them to step up and competently do what the Syrian refugees need them to do.
When our government do relent to the pressure and agree to help more refugees will they then use the vulnerable Syrians they’ve taken in, as an excuse for why they won’t do more to help the Irish citizens in need?
I’m scared because I don’t see enough Irish people revolting against our corrupt government and broken system. I’m scared because the home I’m renting and can’t afford the rent of, is being repossessed. The landlady did not and is not communicating any details of the repossession with me, only some stranger with legal documents banging on my door and intimidating me in my home has communicated with me. I’m scared because when I told the local housing officer in the county council that this house is being repossessed and we’ll have nowhere to go because of the rental crisis, I was dismissed because this week I have a house to reside in, the fact we have no security and might not have a house or anywhere to live next week, in two weeks or a month or two months does not matter to them, because today we have a house and mine and my son’s tomorrow does not matter enough to them.
The absolute worst seemingly has to happen before people, our government, world leaders will do something to help the most vulnerable people who desperately need help. Those calling the shots and making the rules and policies, are the same people that we are depending on and we are asking them to help the Syrians in crisis.
I’m scared because I’m too ill to work right now and I don’t have enough money to cover my outgoings or even enough money to heat our home the next few months. I’m not worried about heating my home yet though, because it’s not as cold as the waters that people are drowning in, while they wait for the corrupt governments to help them. I’m scared because my son, who has only just turned ten years of age, shows more humanity and altruism than our government have shown collectively over the past few years. I’m scared because there are people who still think everyone in our country has four euro to spare right now.
If I had money in my pockets I would empty every last cent to help the people in crisis. I would have emptied my pockets before seeing the images of Aylan Kurdi lying cold on a beach.
Those Who Can Help, Please Do
To those people fortunate enough to have a few euro to spare please donate to the charities that are assisting the Syrians and the charities helping the homeless crisis too if you can. To those with beds or a room to spare please do open your doors to help the innocent people that our government haven’t helped. To those who can donate, remember you are among the more fortunate in our society, know your privilege. I don’t envy your wealth. I might be smashed broke right now but I am acutely aware that I remain privileged and I am so extremely grateful that my son and I are safe right now. We are safe in the ‘at risk of becoming homeless’ category. I can hear the council’s dismissal of me as I type that last sentence, as they respond ‘but you’re not homeless yet’. Sure we are housed for today, I’m very grateful of that.
Crisis, Not Competition. Don’t Pit Us Against One Another.
If or when my son and I get evicted and end up stood on a street side by side with refugees who do I wish the government would help first? There is no first. Each and every one of us deserve to be safe and housed and that is what is scary, that all of us, no matter our situation deserve to have our rights respected and governments must step up for each and every one of us. Now, could those people who are trying to pit one against the other with chants of ‘charity starts at home’ please stop! Instead, ask what you can do to assist, whether it’s helping the refugees or our own homeless crisis, just stop and remind yourself we are all human and I ask you to look to yourself and whatever it is you can do to help.