I’m going to go way off topic for this post. It has nothing to do with knitting what so ever, but these thoughts have dominated my mind for the last few days, and so I felt it was important to write some of it down.
So these past few days the news in Sweden has been dominated by the refugee situation in the Mediterenian sea, and other parts of Europe. It’s been ongoing for a while. People risking their lives across the sea to reach Europe in an attempt to rebuild their broken lives and get to safety from some really horrific realities.
I think what did it for me, and for many others was the picture of the three year old Aylan lying dead, drowned on a beach in Turkey. I’m not going to link the picture because I can’t bear to see it again, but just google it if you think you have the stomach for it. I actually sobbed. I’m still quite emotional from having my second child, and seeing that picture made the whole thing very real to me. With some bad luck, it could be my older son, about the same age, lying there. Dead.
In Sweden we are already receiving quite alot of refugees. Probably more than we can handle if we expect everyone to become a part of our society and start new lives. We lack apartments and places for everyone to live, and the general infrastructure to receive all these children to school. The medical care also needs to gear up to handle people in all kinds of physical shape, not to even mention the emotional scars that these people no doubt must be carrying around. There is a whole debate going on, wether or not we should receive the same amount of refugees, more or less. And it saddens me to see that the people thinking we should receive less, are gaining ground. Because despite us lacking all kinds of things, what Sweden has to offer, is most likey so much better than the situation today, for most people venturing on this life threating journey. It’s not something you do for fun, or because you think that you’ll get stuff for free once you reach your destination. I truly believe, as a parent, that you wouldn’t risk the lives of your children, unless you where incredibly desperate. I have to believe this.
I’ve been accused by people in my surrounding of being naive. Many people who think we should close our borders, think that the people who are coming, only come to take advantage of our excellent social benefits in Sweden. They see the refugees as a threat. The see the refugees as cost, rather than the suffering human beings that they are. Some even become some cynical and paranoid to say that these people are sent here by IS to infiltrate our society. Even if this where true for a very select few of all the thoursands seeking asylum, it is a risk we have to take. We are all human beings, and as such, it is our obligation, to not just stand by and watch ongoing suffering. It is our problem, it is a global problem, and everyone has to pitch in and take responsability and help out with whatever they can.
Don’t tell me a rich country such as Sweden can’t afford it. Most of us can. We live such privileged lifestyles, and it’s more lucky than not that I live in a part of the world where it’s stable. Where I’m safe. Where my children are safe. Shouldn’t we strive for everyone to have this privilege? I can give up some small things to make life better for someone else. It wouldn’t have to be much, a few more SEK in taxes. Consume one T-shirt less or something, and it would add up to loads of money that can be spent on someone not dying.
The truth is, I can’t imagine facing my children 20 years from now, saying I did nothing while people quite close in proximity where dying by the hundreds. I strive to teach my kids sound values, and I have to live by the same code I want them to live by.
So I’m donating money, I have gathered all the clothes my family can part with, together with diapers and other necessities, and I will be handing in these things to be sent to refugees in Greece next week. I’ve signed a petition to be sent to Swedish politicians to temporarily increase the quota of refugees we receive. And I’ve signed up as a volunteer to teach newly arrived woman how to work a computer. It’s not much, but it is what I can offer right now. Some cynical people say it’s not enough, because I’m just one person. I might be naive, but if we all do something, even just a small thing, it will add up. It shouldn’t be an option to do nothing if you have a heart. It’s our responsability as fellow human beings to help others in pain, even if their beliefs and culture is different form ours. If we don’t, we will never get the society we want for our children.
Having children, and almost dying from it, made me face my own mortality somehow. I feel obligated do leave a better world behind for my kids to live in. Or atleast die trying.