In a dramatic reversal from his previous stance — when he said the UK “should not take more Middle East refugees,” David Cameron has announced the UK will take “thousands” more Syrian refugees. The UK has only taken a few hundred refugees compared to Germany’s tens of thousands. This is due to David Cameron insisting the UK cannot afford the cost of housing the refugees.
“I don’t think there is an answer that can be achieved simply by taking more and more refugees.”
However, after an emotional picture was spread virally over the Internet which showed a young boy washed up on the shore in Turkey face down in the sand, and a public outcry demanding the UK “do more” to help, David Cameron has changed his stance and has said the UK will do just that, with reports that the UK could take on up to 4,000 Syrian refugees.
The UK will provide resettlement for more Syrian refugees, taking them from camps. This is on top of our existing £900m programme (1/2).
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) September 4, 2015
So, why has it taken so long for the UK government to catch up to Germany and France? Some believe it was political pandering.
— torytowncrapola (@torytowncrapola) September 4, 2015
Reports are now emerging that the family of the little boy who washed up on the beach were travelling because the father wanted to fix his teeth. Apparently, the father of the drowned boy had been sent money from his sister Ms. Kurdi so that he could travel to Europe to get his teeth fixed, as “he has no teeth.” At the last minute, the whole family decided to go and ended up paying smugglers, who have now been detained for questioning.
Regardless of the rumours and blame going around for the death of the little boy, it is clear that the image sparked an outpouring of public sympathy, and the fact is that refugees are drowning in their attempts to escape Syria. The boat carrying the little boy and his family had other refugees who died. In fact, a total of 12 people died out of a total of 23 people on two boats travelling together. There were five children and a woman among them.
What happens next is anyone’s guess, but for now, the image of the drowned boy will forever haunt us as the crisis in Syria unfolds and the world struggles for an answer not only to countering the destabilising effect of Islamic State in Syria, but also the literal wash of refugees dying to escape certain death at home.
[Photo by Milos Bicanski /Getty Images]