According to YouTube, this video was most-watched in Greece in 2014. Made by Save the Children UK, the tragic second-a day clip shows what could happen to a young girl’s life were war ever to break out in Britain.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve spent many hours talking to the Syrian war refugees who have been protesting their plight on Syntagma Square in Athens since November 19.
The Save the Children video doesn’t even come near to describing what Mariam, a wonderful nine-year-old girl, has experienced in the three years since her mother was killed in Damascus. Yet, after an ordeal that has taken her and her father though wartorn Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and now Greece, all that’s on offer for them, as they’ve been told, is asylum in Greece without any support whatsoever. A cynical offer, one that would effectively leave them homeless and destitute and without the support of relatives (in Germany and Sweden) that she and her father need.
Is that the best the EU can do for these people? Isn’t it time to translate the public’s sympathy for the plight of children made refugees by war – as the popularity of the hypothetical British video in Greece suggests – into concrete action to help the Syrian refugees?
That my native country of Ireland should feel somehow satisfied that it has resettled 201 Syrians and has plans to take in 220 more – out of a total of 3,200,000 Syrian refugees – is shameful when one considers that Greece receives that number and more every few days.