There has been much discussion everywhere about the refugees and what is happening to them. We are all upset at what they have undergone and how desperate they are to escape such persecution, but how often do we consider the people and places they land on?
Lesbos is the Greek Island where most of the people escaping on boats arrive. It has an area of 1,634 square K and a population of 86,436 (in 2011). At that time Vancouver had a population of 759,366 living in an area of 31,285 square K, roughly 30 times bigger and a population nine times bigger.
Can you imagine what having so many people arriving on your doorstep in Lesbos needing food, clothing, accommodation and care in general would be like? To begin with, wouldn’t you want to help?
Remember almost everything has to be brought from the mainland. When the demands on the resources outstripped what was being imported, and people found themselves going short of food and necessary goods, I wonder if they still felt they had to give at the cost of not looking after their own? Just put yourself in their place – what if some family unknown to you arrived on your doorstep and asked for help when they walked in? In the name of Charity, and seeing the state they were in and hearing their story, wouldn’t you take them in?
And when your resources were exhausted and more and more refugees were sitting in your house and garden, and your own family were on short rations because there wasn’t enough food, would you still feel as charitable? It is a very thorny question, and there are no straightforward answers that I can think of. Where do our responsibilities to our own stop? Where do our responsibilities to everyone else begin, and more – where do they end? What should their responsibilities have been before they felt forced to leave their homeland? We can bring them to Canada, of course, but that should only be with a contract that they will be willing to fit in to Canadian ways of life, and not bring their problems to our country, but at least try to become good Canadians with the skills and abilities they have, just as many of us and our forefathers did.
Well, that’s my soapbox rant for this week! I hope it has not made anyone angry, but has brought home just how huge this problem is. I, for one, would not like to be a resident of Lesbos at this time in History, and I am very glad to be here in Ashcroft!