Lesbos, the third largest island in Greece is noted for its LGBT tourism as the word ‘lesbian’ may have originated there. Ironically, the Pope may visit Lesbos next week where he will likely stand in solidarity in regards to the refugee crisis. Pope Francis is no stranger to the situation, even reportedly washing refugees’ feet in Rome this past Easter. All things considered the Pope will probably be a most welcome sight to a people who have endured much.
Greece is in a unique position by way of Turkey because it is the landing point for the majority of migrants. Consequently, many have had to cross the Mediterranean to get to Europe. The sea voyage has been marred with many an egregious shipwreck, but still they come. However, in light of a new European plan the tide of immigrants may soon stem with a deportion of as many as 40,000 refugees. In a word, the future does not look bright for the many haggard and travel wearied people of the Middle East and beyond.
Imagine your home torn apart by war, your family in pieces, and nothing but the clothes on your back. Then imagine traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles to get to a better country. All for the cold welcome of locals throwing rocks at you or border guards telling you to turn around. Go back or stay, the outcome is the same, you have no home and no where to go. On the whole, it’s hard to conceive of isn’t it? But it is the life for millions.
Pope has his Work Cut Out for Him
Protest against PEGIDA I observed in Dresden, Germany.
“By end-2014, 59.5 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations.” – UNHCR
The souls that have been forced to leave their homes during the crisis are reaching staggering levels. The numbers speak for themselves:
This means that roughly 41% of the world’s refugee crisis begins in the Middle East. If you want to know why you may want to read this. Unfortunately though, the end is nowhere in sight. The Pope himself will not being able to help everyone. Even the most welcoming of nations are starting to feel the burden. The sheer logistics of aiding all migrants is a nightmare, but the deportations are not the answer. The answer is compassion.
There needs to be a global response to the worlds’ state of affairs. It doesn’t mean sitting at home eating T.V. dinners and feeling sorry. It means putting your money where your mouth is and doing something. I didn’t even realize the numbers were this crazy until I started researching for this article. The funny thing is, I too am usually one of the people that just bitches but never does much. Today I’m going to go ahead and donate some money to UNHCR to help Syrian refugees. You can too by clicking here.
Sometimes, it is to easy to take for granted the ‘luxuries’ we have at home. I just got back hiking in Spain last summer. I didn’t bring many clothes or personal affects. I walked almost every day and sometimes I slept outside. The thing is, I did it for fun. I wasn’t carrying everything I owned and fleeing a country torn by war. I could eat when I wanted and slept when I felt like it. I wasn’t worried about having rocks thrown at me or people giving me disgusting looks. I definitely wasn’t worried about deportation or how to feed my family. Ultimately, the only thing I can do is try and give some of my time (money) to these people. Alas, time is something that is not on their side. Let us all try to remember that.
Thomas Foreman is an aspiring writer, photojournalist, and cheap beer taster. After school, he set off on an excursion through Peru, and then later throughout Europe. The travel bug having been securely attached, he now teaches English in the land of the Maya.