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.
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.
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)
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.
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
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.
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.