REFUGEE SERIES: Death by Drowning*

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The huge number of desperate refugees brings on colossal chaos and everyone must make some
compromises. But this is no excuse for not welcoming them


by Elena Alders

Right now there are about 6 million people fleeing, people who not only suffer utter exhaustion from a long and life-threatening journey but also the immense sadness of leaving their beloved homes and all their possessions behind. Just the first eight months of this year, there have been at least 2000 people whose death has been caused by drowning while crossing seas and oceans on flimsy, makeshift crafts.REFUGEES Elena Alders refugees on foot

But what about the “lucky” ones? The ones who made it to Europe? In the first nine months of 2015 there have been 710,000 “lucky” refugees entering the European Union, the Promised Land, which when compared to the 282,000 people in the whole of 2014 is 2.5 times more, and there are still three months to go before 2015 is out!

REFUGEES Elena Alders_Refugees_are_human_beings Wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0Of course, this huge number of people brings on colossal chaos and people here and there must make some compromises. But this is no excuse for not welcoming those desperate people who have suffered and are suffering more than most of us could ever imagine. It is our responsibility to take care of them and do whatever it takes to help them improve their life here in Europe (and on other continents as well, but that’s a story for another installment in this Refugee series).

It is quite understandable that there are people who fear the impact the refugees may have on their lives. But as I said, that is not an excuse!

I have an idea: I will write articles that will transform the fear of the people to curiosity. And from curiosity to understanding and – hopefully – even to sympathy. From sympathy I fervently hope the intention to help will spring up. But for now I would be content if the information I’m giving here would help to increase the overall understanding of and for the refugees’ situation. Whatever other outcomes this endeavor produces I still cannot foretell.

Because of the importance and the complexity of the issue of the refugees, I can’t compress it into a single article so I am doing a series, starting it off with the one here.


> Featured image: Boat people, Fall of Saigon, April 1975, by Manhhai, CC-BY 2.0 Genericvia Flickr, cropped
> Refugees in Hungary marching toward Austrian border, with EU flag, by Joachim Seidler,  CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr
> “Refugees are Human Beings” by Haeferl, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Common

*Ed’s note: this is the first article in the Refugee Series by Elena Alders