If we have learnt anything from the recent migrant crisis, it is that we cannot rely on the international community to decide anything quickly. With refugees still risking their lives in dangerous ocean crossings, it falls to us to step up where our government has failed to act. As the British government continues to deliberate about where to place 20,000 migrants, their situation is becoming increasingly desperate. 20,000 is a population slightly larger than UEA, yet our government is acting like they are re-homing millions, and are not treating the crisis with the urgency it requires. The situation in Calais is growing increasingly strained and time is very much of the essence.
I think very few of us can ever claim to understand the mind-set of a parent so desperate for safety that they would rather put their child on a boat to anywhere than stay in their home country. Therefore, it falls to us not to judge but simply to help. And we need to help now.
I have always loved living in Norwich. It is a community that is accepting and generous. But above all it is a place so safe that I’m not sure we can ever truly comprehend the horrors these people are fleeing from. The kind of action demonstrated by the churches of Norfolk, for me, sums up everything Norfolk, Norwich and UEA are all about.
Our university motto is “do different”, and this is what Norfolk as a whole is doing. Rather than waiting for someone else to make a decision, they are stepping up now, when action is required, and anyone who criticises this needs to reconsider their arguments. We are talking about just fifty migrants: that’s less than one double decker bus full of people, and we are all people after all.