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Seeing the Forest through the Trees

 3 min read / 

I remember when my mom first dropped me off at school. All alone among strangers, I was gutted. I wanted to cry and run after her. But she had told me I was a ‘big girl now’. So, however scared and worried I was, I stayed. Funnily enough, for the following years, even in high school, on the first day of school, I got that feeling again. More and more muted, but it was always there.

With that in mind, I can’t even imagine what the children being taken away from their parents at the US border must be feeling. People talking to you in a language you don’t understand, in a place you don’t know, without the protection of your family.

So the push must continue for the US to find a humane solution. They want to protect their borders, but human rights should always take precedence.

However, there is a bigger problem, and it doesn’t tie in with US border control. While we’re looking at how the problem is dealt with, perhaps we should focus on where it originated. Why are people in the thousands desperately trying to leave Mexico, Iraq, Syria and other places? Why, with all of the progress in wealth and technology in recent decades, is the number of displaced people at record highs?

Nobody is willingly leaving their home, friends and family, and everything they know, and putting their life at risk for no reason. This is what we need to focus on. How are our governments helping – or, where adequate, putting pressure on – countries facing mass migration? What are the long-term solutions we are working on to help displaced people thrive at home? Being reactive works when dealing with a few hundred people, perhaps. But when dealing with a million, things change. And Angela Merkel, for example, is already feeling the negative pressure, both from within Germany, and the EU, after inviting those who wanted a better life, and were living in war zones, to come to Europe.

It’s time governments recognise this as a long-term problem, and start to actively search for and implement solutions.

The Trump administration is fixing the way it deals with migrant children is one step. But what is the bigger journey?

We used to hear a lot more about the UN. About human rights. About progress. It’s all a bit sad and seemingly hopeless lately, but we need to find our way forward to international politics and diplomacy to help those who need us – and are counting on us.

Right now, the US, the EU, and the international community are failing.

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