THE images of three-year-old Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi whose body was washed ashore in South west of Turkey pricked the world conscience and European countries, especially Germany opened its borders and offered to take as many as 800,000 refugees. The German government will spend an extra 6bn to cope with this year’s record influx of refugees but unfortunately the UN’s humanitarian agencies, which are primarily responsible to assist the refugees, are on the verge of bankruptcy and unable to meet the basic needs of millions of people.
Large number of refugees, mostly Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans and other Middle East and African countries are still pouring into Hungary daily in the hopes of being allowed to continue their journey north before travel restrictions are tightened. Germany is attractive to refugees because of its robust economy, strong democracy and long history of taking in refugees and German people showed their magnanimity as they welcomed the exhausted refugees by smiles and cheers and distributed food items at train stations across the country.
Unfortunately most of the other European countries are reluctant to open their doors for the luckless refugees who had to leave their homes due to wars in which their near and dear ones lost their lives and like the Syrian child Aylan who drowned in the sea along with his brother and mother, many are drowned in the seas due to poor condition of boats.
One may, however, appreciate Pope Francis who implored Catholic institutions throughout Europe to show mercy to the flood of refugees arriving on their shores by offering them shelter. He asked every parish, every religious community, monastery, sanctuary of Europe to host a family and set personal example by starting from his diocese of Rome.
The response by Germany and appeal by Pope demonstrate that one should not be disappointed with the miseries of refugees because unfortunate incidents like Aylan’s can make the humanity alive and change the course of history.