As I arrived to Munich the other day after more than 45 hours of travel across 5 countries, on 5 planes and in a number of cars and buses, I felt guilty. As I looked out over the beautiful land of Germany from high above, I remembered that below me are hundreds of thousands of desperate refugees travelling by rail, road and foot in the hope of securing safety.
My view as I arrived to Germany on the 10th September 2015
A woman carries a boy after crossing Greece’s border into Macedonia near Gevgelija, Macedonia, August 22, 2015. Thousands of migrants stormed across Macedonia’s border on Saturday, overwhelming security forces who threw stun grenades and lashed out with batons in an increasingly futile bid to stem their flow through the Balkans to western Europe. Some had spent days in the open with little or no access to food or water after Macedonia on Thursday declared a state of emergency and sealed its borders to migrants, many of them refugees from war in Syria and other conflicts in the Middle East. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski – RTX1P7YZ
How can I sit here and bemoan my travel, travel that will lead me to see my dear friends and enjoy a holiday. I chose my modes of travel. I have the funds to make my journey more comfortable. I also have the voice to complain or to raise an issue when I have one. How can I be upset about a nervous flyer and a crying child on a plane, these people are surrounded by fear and desperation as they worry for their futures.
Afghan immigrants land at a beach on the Greek island of Kos after crossing a portion of the south-eastern Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece on a dinghy early May 27, 2015. Despite the bad weather at least a dingy with over thirty migrants made the dangerous voyage to Greece. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RTX1EPUP
Tears began to roll down my face as I remembered this video I saw the other day. Germans welcomed Syrian refugees who arrived by train to Munich after a long and difficult journey. What compassion, what care, such love!
Syria Crisis Response – statistics (Courtesy of World Vision Australia)
- Total number in need of assistance in Syria and neighbouring countries: over 16 million (UNOCHA)
- Refugees: 4 million (UNHCR)
- Internally Displaced Persons:6 million (UNOCHA)
- People in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria : 12.2 million (UN)
- Global humanitarian appeal for Syria crisis for 2015: US$7.4 billion
- Australia’s ‘fair share of the global appeal for 2015: AUD$144 million, but it has only pledged AUD$20 million for 2015.
- Number of people killed in Syrian conflict to date: 220,000 (INGOs)
A baby cries at the border line dividing Macedonia and Greece August 21, 2015. At least 1,000 migrants and refugees pressed against Macedonian police lines on the Greek-Macedonian border on Friday and at least 10 people appeared to faint in the crush. People could be heard screaming and medical workers raced to treat those who passed out or were hurt. The crush ensued after police let several hundred through into Macedonia, having kept them out since Thursday under an emergency decree. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski – RTX1P3HW
I am so blessed to travel and to see the world and to understand it is bigger than I am. It’s easy to get caught up in your day to day and worry about things that seem important. Please take a moment today to count your blessings – think of the things you do have. The greatest thing I know I have is my freedom. I live in a country free of war and I am able to live my life in peace. For so many, this is not a reality.
Please donate now to World Vision Australia’s Syria appeal
We saw that our voices have power. The Australian Government under public pressure have agreed to take in 12000 Syrian refugees, over and above the existing refugee quota. They’ve also agreed to give $44 million in aid support within Syria to those affected who remain.You can sign the petition here to lobby the Australian Government to give more support to Syrian Refugees: https://action.savethechildren.org.au/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1917&ea.campaign.id=41897
A Syrian refugee holds her child in her arms as she sits in the port of the Greek island of Kos waiting to be registered and move with her family to the “Eleftherios Venizelos” vessel August 15, 2015. United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) called on Greece to take control of the “total chaos” on Mediterranean islands, where thousands of migrants have landed. About 124,000 have arrived this year by sea, many via Turkey, according to Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR director for Europe. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis – RTX1OCU3
World Vision’s response
World Vision, Oxfam and Save the Children have launched a joint public campaign appealing the Australian Government to:
- Increase Australia’s overall intake of refugees to 30,000 – not just Syrians, but for refugees from all countries seeking safety,
- Commit its fair share of humanitarian aid for Syria and neighbouring countries, and
- Increase diplomatic efforts towards securing a peace agreement to end the conflict in Syria.
Sign the petition here!
Some of my moaning on Facebook. I laugh at my ignorance and my frivolous “first world problems”.
I know when my journey ends. I know when I’ve reached my destination and when I can rest. Tonight I hold in my thoughts and prayers those who are still travelling, who do not know where the final destination is or if there will be safety there.
Note: I am part of the World Vision Australia Blog Ambassadors program, #WVAbloggers. I am currently undertaking a one year contract with World Vision in the media team as a separate role to my World Vision job role. My views are my own.