The Plight of the Syrian Refugee


Photograph: Jörg Brüggemann/Ostkreuz

Photograph: Jörg Brüggemann/Ostkreuz

I sympathise, I recognise, I might even go so far as to stand up on a Sunday morning and empathise with the plight of the Syrian refugee. That is something I’ll definitely get around to contemplating after my breakfast bagel with salmon, lemon mayonnaise and a perfectly tempered Costa Rican flavoursome cup of black coffee. I will definitely consider, when I look in the bathroom mirror what it’s like to walk away from everything I am, and everything I have and make my way across the open sea – in a dinghy, without a life jacket, with the vague possibility that I might find land and a welcoming cup of luke warm tea.

After I flip over my fondant potato, I might stop and I might wonder what it is to be cold and alone in a country whose language is not my own, and whose population considers me part of a despicable fucking swarm of emotionally vacant crybabies. When I leaf through the midsection of an expose on the tangible grief and startling reality of what it is to be the mother of a corpse on a shore in a Mediterranean country, I’ll definitely weep inside and I might shed an actual tear, and I might even get around to expressing my concern at the surgery of my local MP. I’ll sit at his table and I’ll discuss the infinite tragedy, the deplorable responsibility of what it is to be me with this burdensome weight of each and every single Syrian refugee, playing on my conscience and playing on my heart strings and playing on the very essence of my overwhelming and fundamentally vapid deficiencies.

And I’ll cry real tears, and I’ll wail and I’ll moan, and I’ll look solemn and forlorn as I glance at the TV, with its repetitive pictures, and its foreign correspondents pouring over every single connection to an epic and somewhat significant Greek tragedy. It’s so very important that when these immigrants step away from their war zone, that they understand that I, that is me, that is we, have felt their insecurity – they should definitely be made aware that as I sat in my perfectly suburban perfect home that I was scared, and I was traumatised, and I even went so far as to post an entry on my blog about each and every one of my concerns for their very own personal safety. Because of course, I care, I care so very much that it hurts me down to my very soul, it is heartfelt, it is true, it is every bit the genuine empathetic response towards a people who have my honest to god, absolute and utterly relentless, self-serving sense of pious and unwavering remorse, that of course, I am not the mother of that tiny fragile corpse, because if I were, then it would have been so much simpler to make the story of a Syrian refugee, indelibly and absolutely, all about me.