The European Union has come under mounting criticism for failing to develop an adequate response to the flow of migrants from north Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia seeking a more stable life in Europe. I say the 28-member European Union must prioritize the migrant crisis if it wants to be more than a simple assembly of countries that are members of an economic club.
As a migrant I have total empathy for those who seek to find a better life. The UK kindly embraced me in the 1980's and I am thankful for the opportunities this presented me and my family. As an Irish person I can say that there are many countries around the world who have accepted us as a nation of migrants for many centuries. The current very high profile migrant crisis in this relentless media age raises huge questions about our basic public creed, our ideology, and our secular humanism. We like to believe that the ideal of universal human rights where the worth of all human beings is equal, is one we want to respect and encourage. This crisis forces to consider our principle and values and how we make this real and tangible for those who now seek to live amongst us.
The British media must take some responsibility for the attitudes we have towards the migrant crisis. If our news sources used language that actually portrayed the crisis more humanely, perhaps we would demand more of our politicians. If we saw all of the ‘illegal migrants’ as people, we would be more outraged at our government's announced measures.
We must understand that these are not numbers, but people. We must understand that like us they seek a future for themselves and their families. We must understand that they are not leaving their homes because they want to, but because they have to. We must challenge ourselves to embrace the change in the world and look to a future that is more inclusive.