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(AFP Photo / Anwar Amro)

As we approach Christmas and fill ourselves with mulled wine and mince pies, please let’s not forget about the situation in the EU border countries.

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(AFP Photo / Anwar Amro)

Dodgy rubber dinghies sink or leave people swimming ashore, stranded in soaking wet clothes in ever cooling temperatures.

Here is a harrowing blog post – if you think the refugees are safe and being taken care of, think again.

A warning: the images there are quite upsetting.

That is of course because the situation, despite all the volunteer work and the help from great human beings, is upsetting.12208626_10153176198846641_7816030940353918374_n

With more bombs dropped on their country, we are unlikely to see a decline of refugee numbers. They urgently need clothes, food, shelter and our love. #humanitarian aid

Remember BandAid (The only gift they get this year is Life!)

and
USA for Africa (We are the World…it’s true we make a better world, just you and me)

Let’s forget Trump and all islamophobe idiots and recapture that X-mas Spirit instead! 

My friend Rando is helping refugees in Lesbos https://www.gofundme.com/humansasone

but there are many different campaigns to support them (ironically even one by the UK government who is now bombing the Syrians, too)

Please consider giving!


Here is a link to one of many videos by a volunteer talking about her experience of helping the refugees in Lesbos. Remember the video was taken in summery conditions. Check out the related videos to get further information


“I just don’t get it. I don’t get how people in different countries all over the world can be frightened of people who suffered so much, who are so in need, who are so desperately asking to have freedom, justice and dignity. Just give them a welcome.”
Our video from Mandy Patinkin‘s recent trip with IRC to Lesbos, Greece, in which he traveled to as soon as he wrapped shooting this season ofHomeland.

Help families in crisis by donating now:  http://bit.ly/1Y7x7lS

https://www.facebook.com/InternationalRescueCommittee/?pnref=story


Here is a transcript from a post in a volunteer group on Facebook

“The day after I left Lesvos I heard a refugee boat had sunk as it tried to cross to Greece. The bodies of seven children, the youngest just 20 days old, later washed ashore. I was devastated.

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(AFP Photo / Anwar Amro)

I’d returned from Greece thinking how absolutely amazing humanity was. That maybe, just maybe there was hope. I knew I wasn’t going to change anything big picture, but I felt hopeful. I was happy, the sort of happiness that fools you into thinking that everything will be ok. To read that more children had died, little babies who were innocent of humanity’s wars, was like a slap in my face.

I went about my day in a daze, feeling sick at everything I have: the cup of Starbucks coffee warming my hands, my house with central heating, my warm, dry shoes and socks, safety. I went Christmas shopping for my children, which, by the way, felt absolutely gross after volunteering in Lesvos. I felt helpless and angry and, I’ll admit, a bit like what was the point?

But today I saw a post by Dan Teume, a lovely guy I met in Lesvos, that reminded me how important it is to help despite these losses. It reminded me that we can’t give up. The people you DO help, it matters to them. Dan collected pinecones to help a number of refugee families in Lesvos build fires to keep warm. He made that one night better for those people. “Just because it is a shit situation,” he said. “doesn’t mean we should lose our humanity and not be ourselves.”

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(AFP Photo / Anwar Amro)

Maybe we haven’t changed anything big picture. We can’t and probably won’t, as individuals, change policy. I’ll be the first to admit that finding a political answer is complex and filled with so many pitfalls. But doing nothing—apathy and indifference—THAT is the real danger. It is so, so vital that we don’t close our hearts and lose sight of the needs of the world’s most desperate people. You, every single one of you, can help make a shit situation just a little bit better by focusing on each person, the human faces behind each story. That’s how we win. That’s how we keep sight of our essential human response throughout this tragedy.

I read this book years ago called ‘Pay it Forward.’ You may have seen the movie. It’s about a young boy who sets out on a mission to change the world by repaying good deeds with new good deeds. This sets in motion more kindness that has a ripple effect expanding outwards like drops in a pond. I think the way we respond to this humanitarian crisis is much the same.

The point, I’ve learned, is kindness. I needed to be reminded of it—we all do from time to time. Kindness will wash over a parched and cracked heart. It will bring people back from the brink of anger and cruelty. If we show kindness to these people who so desperately need it, it will start a ripple effect that makes our world a better place.

Even if you can’t go to Lesvos and you don’t have the funds to donate, change starts with you. I don’t mean for this to sound cheesy or trite. But I challenge you, I encourage you, to spread kindness every day. We can’t change the world just by talking about it. We must be the example others see. Be the kindness that others experience.

As the spirit of Christmas dawns on us, let’s remember to be a little kinder. Acts of kindness (random or otherwise) are like stepping stones to making the world a better place. Hold the door for a mum with her arms full, help the elderly person struggling to cross the street. Smile – it is the least expensive give you can give. All of us together, like ‪#‎dropsintheocean‬, will make the difference in what the history books write about our time.”



RE: NEED FOR LEADERSHIP/COORDINATION OF VOLUNTEER OPERATIONS

Having spent the last two weeks working with some of the most incredible grassroots volunteers from around the world who have saved lives and eased the suffering of the refugees hitting the shores of Lesvos, I still must agree with this sentiment in the WSJ piece below…

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“Everyone recognizes [the volunteer efforts],” she said. But “now it’s time to bring professionals.”
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The magnitude of the crisis is far too significant and the stakes – literally life and death – are far too high.

Like the woman quoted above, my personal experiences on the ground, coupled with my life experiences (18 years of international human rights advocacy; serving in City Government; overseeing multi-million dollar operations over employees, infrastructure, and programming in both the private and public sectors; serving as the volunteer field director for Hurricane Sandy clean up in my hometown – overseeing logistics, operations and deployment of hundreds of volunteers; 6 years work on fishing boats; a lifetime in the ocean living on the beach…) has brought me to the conclusion that a massive effort must be made in the coming weeks to streamline operations and communications on Lesvos and the other islands being impacted. Coordination and cooperation with local and national government officials is imperative. Leadership must emerge that can bring all the goodwill and technical and tactical expertise that has flooded to the island to help.

In the coming days, I will offer my thoughts on some specifics based on what I saw, heard and experienced on Lesvos.

Peace, JWK



 

Here is a post about the volunteer experience in The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/apr/22/vicarious-trauma-humanitarian-workers

The harsh reality in Lageso Camp in Berlin

http://m.morgenpost.de/berlin/article206801809/Live-Report-Eine-Nacht-am-Lageso-in-Berlin.html

Another harrowing post : We Want Peace

http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2015/12/8/1458200/-Dispatch-from-Greece-Syrian-Refugees-We-want-peace?_=2015-12-08T12%3A02%3A21-08%3A00

 

 

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