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My River, Their Sea: perspective on our Refugees.

Something happened to me a few evenings ago, that I initially made light of. Later that same night, I came across a video that tore my heart in two. It made me realise there was something deeper for me to understand and feel lucky for in my set of circumstances.

Think of all the times you’ve had to ask for help. Or rely on the kindness of a stranger. It happens all the time.

For me it happened that dog jumped into a deep and overgrown part of a river, in a panic swam to the other side and was too scared to swim back. I didn’t feel safe jumping into this part of the river to get her without someone else being there too. To make sure I’d be safe and support me and my dog out of the water in case anything happened.

I didn’t know this river, I’d never been in there before...

I was lucky that a kind stranger helped me, a lady named Cathy. She looked after my belongings as I stripped off into the river, not something I thought I’d be doing that evening.

She helped pull me and my dog out of the water then calmed my distressed dog whilst I cleaned myself, dried off and got dressed again. She helped me. I felt safe.

...She pulled me and my dog out of the water...

I had relied on a stranger, Cathy and her kindness in my time of need. She didn’t have to help me. She could have been scared of me and avoided my gesture for her attention for help. But that would have been a bit of a bizarre thing to do no? I'm sure many people would have said that too. How rude and unkind of her to not help me when she can see me kneeling by the bank of the river desperately trying to get my dog back to safety with me, who at this point was beginning to get tired and scared.

But now imagine if my dog was a child and that stranger, Cathy ignored me still. Doesn’t that seem even MORE bizarre? ... I was ‘lucky’ to have been around someone who didn’t judge me, wasn’t scared of me, and was willing to help.

Now I get onto my main point. I say lucky but we can probably all agree that should just be the standard human behaviour right? I thought that too...

People fleeing their home countries out of fear for their lives, having to cross the channel, not just a river, with their children... are relying on the help of strangers. But we, our government and media vilify them.

I didn’t know that river and didn’t feel safe but I wanted to rescue my dog...they don’t know the SEA and they want to rescue their children. They are asking for OUR help. The kindness of strangers.

I know I’m writing this and the majority of my friends share this view. But there are still some people who baffle me with their misunderstanding of what it means to be human and get confused in the media and governments lies and tactics.

Just be a god damn Cathy. And watch this video.

And you'll see this man, Hassan Akkad. He’s just like me and you. And look he’s even supporting the NHS during the corona virus, definitely wearing a mask and politely explaining his situation and what he can see the government is doing because he’s lived this experience.

Listen to people’s experiences. They’re real.

People in government have not fled a devastated country, risked their lives and their families lives, just to be able to breathe in peace.

The Government want votes and they want to control what you think about certain issues so they can remain in power and have us believe people like Hassan are the problem.

I made light of my situation today initially, I laughed it off that my dog had dragged me into this adventure. I was still really grateful for Cathy even so. After watching this video from Hassan and being genuinely really moved by it, I realised what happened to me today was lucky. My situation is lucky. I’m lucky that’s not me in the dinghy crossing the channel and instead I’m in Surrey rescuing my dog in a river with the kindness of a stranger.

- Also below, links to crowdfunding, personal blogs, further information and ways you can help.

Speaker: Hassan Akkad - fled war-torn Syria and now lives in the UK cleaning COVID-19 wards for the NHS.

Video source: Led By Donkeys Youtube Channel - a British anti-Brexit political campaign group which uses satire targeted at pro-Brexit politicians

Crowdfunding for Kent refugees.

Refugee Action UK charity

Emergency Relief & Hardship Fund for UK LGBT Asylum Seekers & Refugees.

A personal Instagram blog from a UK asylum seeker, personal insights into the journey.

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