It’s been dubbed the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War. The number of Syrian refugees now exceeding 4 million civilians, and an increasing number of refugees fleeing other war torn areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
Following the barbaric attacks in Paris, there have been recurrent calls from many living in the West to stop welcoming refugees across Europe and elsewhere. Many US state governors have said they will refuse to allow any Syrian resettlements within their respective states. Donald Trump has even gone as far as saying that Muslims should be forced to carry Nazi-style identification to distinguish them from non-muslims.
Aylan Kurdi, the young refugee child who was photographed heartbreakingly laying lifeless on the shores of Europe, left no eyes dry and no heart untouched across the world. Luckily, for the likes of Trump et al, we suffer from horrifically short-term memory, providing the perfect opportunity to suggest these innocent children are possible terrorists.
The anti-Muslim sentiment and anti-refugee rhetoric has resulted in abuse, including hate crimes being targeted at anyone who looks like they may be of middle eastern descent (including myself!).
I’m going to term this new trend of scare-mongering, disrespecting, bigoted, vote attracting jargon as ‘Refugee Bashing’. It’s easy, you should give refugee bashing a try, it can get you out of any situation. When something goes wrong, blame the refugees. If you can’t get a job, blame the refugees! If the underground/subway/metro (delete as appropriate) is suffering signal failure and delays, blame the refugees! If a terrorist attack happens, committed by the same people the refugees are fleeing…that’s right, blame the refugees! Having said that, I have a couple of essays due in for next week, so if I don’t finish them on time, I’m not going to use my usual excuse (the dog ate ate it) which always fails, I now have a perfect scapegoat.
It comes as a breath of fresh air, however, to hear celebrities standing up for those children struggling across the Aegean sea and through Europe in their quest for safety. Not only did Benedict Cumberbatch visit the island of Lesvos to witness first-hand the devastating reality the refugees suffer from, but he also raised money for Save the Children after each Hamlet performance at the Barbican. Yet, considering the anti-rhetoric that spreads through the media, he’s been receiving some flack, the above clip shows his response.