In the middle of September, my best friend from childhood took a trip to London. She and her husband visited Parliament Square, and she sent me photos of the scene below:
This “life-jacket graveyard” installation included 2,500 life jackets worn by refugees—a quarter of them children—journeying by sea from Turkey to Greece. The installation coincided with the United Nations summit and was designed to increase awareness of the refugee plight as thousands of people flee war-torn countries in search of a safer place to live.
According to a report by NBC News, 298,099 refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe via the sea this year alone; nearly 7,000 people drowned or went missing while attempting passage in as much time.
As a mother of four living in a first-world country, I cannot comprehend a life so bad that I’d strap life jackets on myself and my kids, hop into a tiny boat, and hope to float to a better place. The premise must be that anything is better than the lives they’re living now.
I know the refugee topic is a hot-button issue, but surely there’s a way to welcome some refugees to safer countries while still protecting ourselves. I don’t know the answer, but I also can’t ignore the tragic lives of those running away from their homes in such a dangerous, scary way. •