Last week, a British visitor to the Sangatte refugee camp at Calais was witness to the death of a 4-year-old little girl. "Her heart just seemed to give up", said the visitor.
That such a young person - nay, a child - should die amidst all the squallor of that much-maligned establishment is almost heart-breaking to any ordinary person who is motivated by compassion. Yet the UK's Prime minister (David Cameron) - possibly on the very same day as the little girl died - last week referred to the camp occupants as simply a "bunch of migrants". A few months ago, he referred to them as "a swarm of migrants". Obviously he must be thinking that so many have died since that to describe them as a "bunch" is now more appropriate. What leadership from a British prime minister.
The world is going bonkers: there's no need for me to describe all of what's happening - the quality press and al-Jazeera are quite good in portraying the realities, whilst the UK TV news channels begrudgingly offer glimpses, backed up by some edifying documentary programmes. The grand generousity of Angela Merkel has back-fired with Scandinavian countries repatriating many tens of thousands of (apparently false) refugees back to their homelands, whilst there is a severe backlash in Germany as well.
For me the key question is: "Why is all this happening?". Many would say Sadat and Daesh are to blame, but it doesn't take much to realise that virtually the whole Middle East region (including Libya) has erupted in the past few years, on the back of happenings in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, the Sangatte refugee camp at Calais was set up as long ago as 1999 to cope with the shock-waves of the exodus from the Middle East, and yet the Calais situation only seems to get worse after so long - not better. Another camp has been created at Dunkirk.
The Middle East problems have their roots back in the First World War, when the famed 'Lawrence of Arabia' became an adoptive Arab and created a bond of trust with the Mesopotamian (Iraqi) people, to whom he passed promises gained from his superiors. After that War, those promises were broken and the region was broken up between the British and French. Lawrence became disillusioned, and then the British promised the Jews that they could have their state of Israel. The Palestinian story since has been one of disaster on disaster and horror as the Western-backed Israeli nation came into effect and has since squeezed the Palestinians off their own territory. In fact, Israel has adopted the stance of Goliath - David now represents the Palestinians. The kindly King of Jordan provided many of the refugee camps for the Palestinian homeless, where the refugees had to remain for many years and many descendants are probably still there.
The false heads of Iran (the Shah) and Iraq (Saddam Hussein) and Syria (Sadat's father) were established by Western interference - mainly by the USA. Of these, only the Sadat regime remains but we know what has been happening in Syria this past five years. Gadafi was toppled with Western help, but look at the chaos there now, as there is (still) in Iraq and Afghanistan (where al-Qayeda were once backed by the USA in the war against Russia there).
In short, the Western administration has been guilty of a huge amount of wrong-doing based upon self-interest and total ignorance of Islam and its sectarian issues. And now the ordinary people of Europe complain about the repercussions, and what they've been saddled with - the refugees and economic migrants.
The Western World's values are supposed to have been based upon Christianity. In which case, just what form of Christianity is this? We are so far removed from the teachings of Jesus and trying to fulfill the demands of Mammon that it looks as though we have lost our souls.
The answer? There is one - but nothing short of a total re-evaluation of our values will bring around 'the answer'. However, to bring about change has to start with ourselves, individually. By our own individual example of love and self-distinteredness, others will - and do - follow. Sacrifice is called for - not the meek giving way to a tinsel-based society where ego plays a huge part.
I will try to explore some of these aspects over the forthcoming weeks.
Love all; serve all.