There Are No Migrants, Just Humans
The refugee crisis in Europe is showing that humans helping each other, irrespective of national boundaries, is often the most effective form of action.
There Are No Migrants, Just Humans
By Jonathan Davis / upliftconnect.com
Sep 8, 2015

An urgent need for something to be done to help Syrian refugees has sparked humanitarian actions worldwide

Words matter. The debate about whether there is a ‘Migrant crisis’ or a ‘Refugee crisis’ in Europe has been at the center of discussion, as thousands of people attempt to head towards the perceived safe havens of Germany and Austria. Obviously, those escaping the Syrian war are not doing so for purely economic reasons, but there is a word that matters more than ‘migrants’ or even ‘refugees’, and that is ‘humans’.

In this crisis, it may seem like business as usual for most of the world’s governments, but more and more people are discovering how to make a difference. National boundaries define ‘outsiders’ and ‘insiders’, often blinkering national governments to a narrow set of interests. By contrast, it is humans feeling empathy for fellow humans, irrespective of national boundaries, that have been some of the most effective agents so far. Here are a few great examples of people who didn’t wait for their government to do something about the current crisis in Syria, they didn’t ask for anyone’s permission – they just started taking action.

An ‘Air BnB’ for Refugees

Refugees Welcome has been described as an online matchmaking service connecting displaced people with others who have a spare room to offer. It’s essentially an Air BnB for refugees, sometimes offered for free, sometimes paid for by micro-donations from others. It is perhaps the single best example of the true spirit of the emerging peer-to-peer sharing economy that we have seen so far.

We are overwhelmed by people’s readiness to help, we are now receiving inquiries from different countries within Europe such as Greece, Portugal and Scotland, but also from Australia and the US. Everywhere, people are keen to realise this idea in their countries to be able to offer refugees a home. 
– Refugees Welcome

Refugees Are Human Beings
Refugees Are Human Beings

So far there’s been amazing feedback from people who have opened their homes. Teacher Johann Schmidt from Konstanz Germany, registered on the site in November last year and now shares his apartment with an Iraqi refugee.

Azad tells me about his home country time and again, and can explain the overall context of the current situation to me in simple terms. I’ve learned quite a bit from him already and very much enjoy listening to his stories.
– Johann Schmidt

12,000 Icelanders Offer Their Homes For Syrians

Iceland has a population of around 300,000 and was recently listed on the Global Peace Index as the world’s most peaceful country. According to The Guardian, they have been accepting 50 refugees per year. Syria has more than 8 million displaced people and on that same Global Peace Index is considered the least peaceful country on Earth. In response to the current crisis in Syria over 12,000 Icelanders sent an open letter to their government, volunteering to take Syrian refugees into their home – all organised through a facebook group called ‘Syria Calling’.

I have clothing, kitchenware, bed and a room in Hvanneyri [western Iceland], which I am happy to share with Syrians… I would like to work as a volunteer to help welcome people and assist them with adapting to Icelandic society. 
–  An Icelander on the Syria Calling Facebook group

While this isn’t going around the government as such, keep in mind that Iceland recently had their ‘pots and pans’ revolution, where they sacked their government in response to the global financial crisis. Iceland is representative of a rare exception where the Government is more inclined than most to listen to their people… or else.

Christopher and Christina Catrambone
Christopher and Christina Catrambone – photo by Massimo Sestini

The Phoenix and Migrant Offshore Aid Station

Another amazing story is that of Christopher and Christina Catrambone. Whilst sailing the Mediterranean in their private yacht they discovered the life jacket of a drowned refugee. The couple came home changed from the experience, so much so that they bought The Phoenix – an $8m, 40-metre long vessel; pulled together a 20 person crew of sailors, paramedics, doctors and rescue personnel and created what is essentially Sea Shepherdfor refugee rescue. The Phoenix is the flagship of MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station), a registered foundation dedicated to preventing loss of lives at sea; providing assistance to migrants who find themselves in distress while crossing the Mediterranean Sea in unsafe vessels.

No country in the EU currently has a search and rescue team for this purpose, so the MOAS simply decided to do it themselves. In their first 60 days The Phoenix rescued over 3,000 people. At the time of publication that figure stands at 11,000 lives saved. Just in the last couple of days, MOAS has raised $1m, showing that humans helping humans can often be more effective than governments trying to do the same.

Refugee Rescue Boat
Refugee Rescue Boat – photo by Giles Clarke

Individual Empowerment

It can be incredibly disempowering to see devastation and not be able to do anything about it. In fact, this sense of helplessness in affecting any kind of change is partly what causes us to switch-off. Why go through the pain of feeling empathy for another’s pain if we can’t do anything about it? What the three stories outlined above show us is that anyone can find a way to help, even if that way doesn’t exist yet. In fact, the only way we’re ever going to make some kind of change to prevent these things from happening in the long term is by having the courage to first face the problem.  Having ways to actually make a difference to people’s lives in some way, even if it’s micro-financing a refugee’s stay in someone’s spare room for a few days, helps us have the strength to keep looking at the problem, and without large volumes of people coming to their own conclusion that we need to stop bombing these places and creating these problems, nothing is going to change.  Conversely, if we can learn to breathe through the discomfort and toxicity of seeing the truth, and feel empowered to help in some small way, we also gain the strength to keep searching for more permanent solutions.

Please think about joining the humans helping humans by clicking on the link below.

At www.betterplace.org, you can choose to donate to either MOAS, Refugees Welcome or a number of other grassroots projects. 100% of all of the donation goes directly to the charities.

 

RefugeesDonate
3.7 ·
2
Trending Today
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 10,534 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 3,346 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
PROPAGANDA (2012)
95 min · 3,109 views today · Since it mysteriously appeared on YouTube on July 18, 2012, ‘Propaganda’ has been described as ‘1984 meets The Blair Witch Project’, ‘A mouthful of scary porridge’, and ‘Even...
The Science Behind Connection
9 min · 2,574 views today · Evolutionary Biologist, Bruce Lipton, visits the Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh, India with UPLIFT writer, Jacob Devaney. Making a pilgrimage back to one of the epicenters of...
Life Goes On: A Positive and Uplifting Response to Dark Times
2 min · 1,941 views today · Recent world events have a lot of people feeling fearful and angry. But there is much more good than bad in this world, and I choose to remain hopeful. This video explains why.
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,913 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Obama's Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Stansfield Smith · 782 views today · It should be a scandal that leftists-liberals paint Trump as a special threat, a war mongerer – not Obama who is the first president to be at war everyday of his eight years...
"Desert Goddess" Remembers Arizona's Glen Canyon
7 min · 598 views today · In this excerpt from the award-winning documentary DamNation, filmmakers Ben Knight and Travis Rummel interview the "desert goddess," Katie Lee. When the Glen Canyon Dam was...
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 454 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
How Mindfulness Empowers Us
2 min · 357 views today · Many traditions speak of the opposing forces within us, vying for our attention. Native American stories speak of two wolves, the angry wolf and the loving wolf, who both live...
Stunning Photos By Alexander Semenov Showcase The Alien Beauty Of Jellyfish
Earth Porm · 325 views today · Jellyfish appear like beautiful aliens in Alexander Semenov’s photography, calling a new attraction to a magical species of marine life. Alexander Semenov is a marine...
18 Empowering Illustrations to Remind Everyone Who's Really in Charge of Women's Bodies
Julianne Ross · 313 views today · When Brazilian graphic designer Carol Rossetti began posting colorful illustrations of women and their stories to Facebook, she had no idea how popular they would...
Make The Serengeti Great Again | Resource Scarcity, Demagogues and How Creativity Can Trump Hate (2017)
5 min · 312 views today · A Familiar Tale of Resource Scarcity, Demagogues, and How Creativity Can Trump Hate A quick, original, illustrated allegory that pokes at the demagogues we’ve got with an...
Defiance in the Face of Oppression - Iranian Artist Atena Farghadani Defends the Right to Draw
Gavin Aung Than · 260 views today · Atena Farghadani is a 28-year-old Iranian artist. She was recently sentenced to 12 years and 9 months in prison for drawing a cartoon.  
This Zen Comic Is Full of Timeless Life Lessons
Gavin Aung Than · 255 views today · Desiderata poem by Max Ehrmann beautifully illustrated by Gavin Aung Than
Why It's Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound
Bethany Webster · 229 views today · The issue at the core of women’s empowerment is the mother wound
Money & Life (2013)
86 min · 210 views today · Money & Life is a passionate and inspirational essay-style documentary that asks a provocative question: can we see the economic crisis not as a disaster, but as a tremendous...
HUMAN (2015)
382 min · 209 views today · What is it that makes us human? Is it that we love, that we fight? That we laugh? Cry? Our curiosity? The quest for discovery?  Driven by these questions, filmmaker and artist...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 200 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
Deconstructing Hierarchies: On Contrived Leadership and Arbitrary Positions of Power
Colin Jenkins · 194 views today · Bosses don't grow on trees. They don't magically appear at your job. They aren't born into their roles. They are created. They are manufactured to fulfill arbitrary positions...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
There Are No Migrants, Just Humans