There’s been some rage doing its rounds on the internet recently surrounding the recent refugee crisis and the fact that when migrants are coming ashore they’re taking selfies. Seriously, don’t stray into the comments on this Daily Express story. The word “refugee” seems, for some people, to be synonymous with “time traveller” and any indication that these people have not crawled from a portal to the dark ages is considered immediate evidence that they’re not victims of tragedy deserving of help, but rather wealthy economic migrants. “They have clothes? Phones? They lived lives that could have been in some way similar to ours before their tragedy struck? Turn my empathy switch to off, Dorothy, I’m hitting the forums.”
In response to these negative online comments, Action Aid has launched an excellent response that’s using an online platform for social good.
With “What Would You Take?” Action Aid is inviting you to put yourself in the shoes of someone leaving their home and the life they know, and asking you to decide what to bring with you and what to leave behind. You can choose from a list of items including mobile phones, medication, baby food, and more, all of which were amongst the few possessions carried by refugees arriving in Greece. The catch is, all of your items have to fit into the limited space of a 140 character tweet. What would you prioritise?
This is a clever use of Twitter’s character limitation and an excellent attempt to try and get people to understand how difficult it can be to decide what’s important. You take a phone to let your family know you’re safe and to plan your route, it’s an absolutely essential device, but you also need medication, and if you have a baby you need nappies and food, and suddenly that one bag you’re able to carry is looking awfully small.
Sure, some of these refugees have phones and clothes but not only are these common belongings in the modern world and probably the only things they have with them from their past lives, they’re also absolutely no reason to deny them help they clearly need. Thankfully Action Aid is doing something to remind us of that.
Main Image: Action Aid