There can’t be many who are without a view about Syrian refugees, but I bet few of those people have an accurate view of Syria and its civil war.
On Facebook there are myriad wafflings from Britain First, a group that posts false ramblings along the lines of ‘Cameron announces he’ll spend our taxes on burkas for the cabinet to wear in parliament so they don’t offend Muslims, while he does a wee on a Union Flag and chants passages from the Quran’.
The worst thing is coming to realise that some of your friends actually believe this tosh.
Conversely, it is also a comfort to realise that some folk are well-informed. One image I spotted was a powerful picture of Syria, bombed to pieces, in an effort to show that the refugees cannot just ‘go back to where they came from’.
However, no sooner did it appear, than somebody commented on how, in the Second World War, British citizens didn’t give in when London was bombed, but instead they rebuilt and stayed put.
Such woeful ignorance of the situation evokes both my pity and frustration, for this is obviously a person who is commenting without having any real knowledge and is subsequently both dangerous and making a fool of themselves.
Firstly, the Syrian government is not on the side of Syrian people. I have a sneaking suspicion Churchill was fairly staunch in his belief that he didn’t want to slaughter Brits and send the army in to shoot us all.
Secondly, Syrian trouble began in 2011 when people took to the streets to protest after 15 children were arrested and tortured for writing anti-government graffiti on a wall. Imagine what would happen to the person behind Britain First in a state like that?
The protests were peaceful, calling for the release of the children, but the government responded with fury and the army fired on protesters, killing four. The next day they shot at mourners at the victims’ funerals.
Does that sound like a move Churchill made? I think not. Does it sound like they have a chance to rebuild their country and defend themselves? Again, I think not.
If you are reading this and have any items for donation then one local woman, Danielle Travis, is taking a collection to Calais on October 18. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Verity Lush is a 38-year-old mum-of-two who lives in Portsmouth.
She is a tutor in philosophy, English and maths and has written a book for newly-qualified teachers, plus textbooks and articles for teaching magazines and supplements.