NO HATE, NO FEAR, REFUGEES ARE WELCOME HERE
On Saturday 5 September Swindon town centre was the place local groups and people from all walks of life showed their solidarity for the refugees escaping war zones and respect for the thousands of individual human beings, men, women and children who have drowned in their desperate attempt to escape.
Members of Swindon People’s Assembly (SPA), 38 Degrees, Swindon Anarchists, TransSwindon, The Harbour Project and Swindon-Calais Solidarity joined to demonstrate and give a resounding message to our government that people drowning, suffocating and fleeing their homes to be stranded in makeshift shelters if they are among the fortunate ones who survive is inhumane and unacceptable.
On an overcast and damp Saturday morning demonstrators were chalking silhouettes of human bodies to represent the dead, the victims of what can only be called a human disaster. Other demonstrators were asking passers-by to sign petitions to government and providing information on where donations of basic necessities could be given for those stranded in Calais in appalling conditions. Generous members of the public donated money towards the fuel and ferry costs of a trip to Calais to bring aid and support to those in need.
Figures from UNICEF state about 3000 people from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq are in transit through Macedonia every day. A third of this number are women and children. The International Organisation for Migration states 3200 people have drowned whilst attempting the Libya-Italy crossing last in and a further 2500 have perished this year.
The United Nations estimate of 220,000 of Syrian deaths during the conflict is believed to be much higher, and according to a doctor working in Syria it is likely to be double that estimate. After a barrel-bomb strike it is impossible to accurately count casualties as many bodies are buried under rubble and cannot be recovered.
Syrians are living through a hurricane of barrel-bombs being dropped by the Assad regime. A barrel-bomb is an old oil barrel filled with explosives, nails, gasoline, chlorine and other chemicals. They are crude, ruthless and indiscriminate when they are dropped on heavily populated civilian areas.
Despite this our right-wing media and government wishes to convince us that refugees and migrants are less than human BUT there are those among us who will not be deluded. These people are human beings just like us. They are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, brothers and sisters just like we are.
SPA leader Kate Linnegar says “Let your MP know that the people of Swindon find it unacceptable that people are drowning and suffocating in lorries. That over 3000 people are living in squalor in the camp at Calais. We don't know what the solutions are but expect our government to try to find solutions immediately. David Cameron has had to capitulate to public horror at this crisis. We need to keep the pressure up.” Add your voice to the campaign here