Misplaced outrage: Europe's migration crisis


Photo via CNN.com

If you've paid any amount of attention to the news recently, then you know that Europe is and has been dealing with a major migration crisis. This map gives a nice visual of where the refugees and mirgrants are coming from and where they're going. But first, let's back up.

What is a refugee and what is a migrant? Are the words synonymous? Not quite.

My good friend Webster defines the words the following ways:

1) refugee: someone who has been forced to leave a country because of war or for religious or political reasons

2) migrant: a person who goes from one place to another especially to find work

Basically, the biggest difference between a refugee and a migrant is that a refugee is forced to flee their country because of dangerous, corrupt, or religious reasons, among others.

Back to the crisis. The migration crisis is nothing new; people have been fleeing their home countries surrounding Europe, specifically and especially in the Middle East and Africa, for a few years now, but we are starting to pay attention as a whole at this point because the number of people fleeing is so robust, and their means of escape are getting dangerous (read: sinking ships and other dangerous escapes).

I'm going to shame the western world (including myself) for just a bit here. I don't like seeing depressing and gory photos on social media, through a text message, or on TV, so when I saw this photo (Warning: photo contains graphic content.) circulating the Internet, I was slightly outraged at first. I thought about it for a bit, though, and I decided my outrage at the media for publishing the photo was disgustingly misplaced. We should be mad that this happened in general. We should be infuriated with the cause of the photo, not the photo itself.

We shouldn't be mad at the media or social media users for circulating the photo, because if we're mad about it, we're basically insinuating that we are blatantly disregarding the crisis at hand. And those who say, "I've read about the crisis, but I don't need to see the photos" are WRONG (yes, WRONG). You DO need to see the photos. While I am sitting on my couch, typing this from my new laptop, watching a football game and enjoying a beer, thousands of people half a world away are risking their lives and their families' lives just so they can make another day. How incredibly sad is that?! And this is nothing new. Situations like this have been occuring throughout the course of history, and it's happening NOW. Again. While you're alive. This isn't a history book you're reading. It's a current event.

This photo, among others, makes the crisis even more real, and there are so many more conversations about the situation now more than ever, because it is becoming REAL for people who will never know what it's like to have to flee because it's just not safe to live in your own country.

Again, I don't enjoy seeing photos such as this, but if we don't see it, if we don't talk about it, how are we expected to sympathize and understand the situation completely and then take action? I hope I never have to endure the situations these people are facing, and no matter your political beliefs, we're all human and we all deserve a chance.

If you want to read up on Europe's refugee crisis, here are a few articles I found helpful and easily digestible, as it is a very complex situation.

E.U. nations urged to accept 160,000 migrants - The New York Times

EU migrant plan 'drop in the ocean' - USA Today

Europe's migration crisis in 20 photos - CNN

Also, theSkimm, a daily email newsletter, does a great job of breaking down the crisis whenever new information pops up (which is usually daily), so you should subscribe and get the latest on this topic, and other big news items, in your email inbox every morning.

Disagree with me? I'd love to hear your opinion. Drop me a note in the comments section below.

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