I’ve been increasingly concerned about the story we are being told about refugees – that they are a drain on our society and a threat to our way of life. The story continues by saying that we have to look after ourselves first.
I think of one good friend of mine who was a refugee as a child. My life is richer for knowing her. In fact, her and her husband helped save my marriage.
Furthermore, when we understand the violence and atrocities refugees are fleeing from surely our response has to be one of compassion – wouldn’t we want others to welcome us if we were fleeing the same kind of danger?
As a nation Britain has a proud history of welcoming refugees. Even after WWII when we faced the challenge of putting our nation back together we saw the struggles of refugees in Eastern Europe and responded. I’m proud to be part of Christian Aid who played a key part in this.
One aspect I love about Hastings is the culture welcoming people from all walks of life with open arms.
I hope as a town and in our local media we continue to have our arms open to those struggling and can be part of a movement that tells a different story about refugees.
But telling a different story must also lead to calling on the government to do more - because we can and we must.
The UK Government has promised to host just 20,000 refuges over five years - but this is tiny compared to other nations who are far poorer than us. We should strive to host at least double the number of refugees that the Government has currently pledged. I hope we will.
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