The humanitarian crisis of people facing such trauma at home that they are willing to risk a dangerous sea journey, place themselves at the mercy of those who traffic, and face rejection on the other side is startling apparent on our news reports.
The failure of a policy to offer sufficient life-saving provision has been exposed. It was the wrong decision.The idea that we make it as dangerous as possible in order to deter people trying simply fails to ignore the reality and horror of life on the other side. Since the change in policy more have tried to come rather than less.
Finally, greater efforts are going to be made to ‘save’ lives. Well done ‘Save the Children’ and others for getting this on the news. Thank goodness, but not ‘job done’. It begs the question of what next for these unfortunate people.
In an election situation where immigration is high on the agenda the British position appears to be that we (as nation) will help save lives but allow Italy and the extremely wealthy Greece and other nations in ‘Europe’ deal with the problem of ongoing care.
In Church – The parable of the good Samaritan is so well preached now that it can often be reduced to a story for the children. We adult Christians are on the “meat” now of Ephesians rather than the “milk” of Jesus and the Gospels.
Yet allowing this somewhat critical story in relation to the greatest command (surely meat?) forces upon us some hard questions about what it means for us as Christian people to value human life. It seems to me that the Samaritan not only saved in the immediate and took concern for the present but also for the future. Arguably the Samaritan acted in such a way to enable the injured stranger regain the quality and independence of their lives. At least that is the way I have heard it preached to nodding congregations.
If this story has any purchase here on the Christian response and by projection of witness on the action of nations then the challenge for the European nations and peoples is not simply to save life but together to take responsibility for these unfortunate lives not simply in plucking them out the water but in giving back to them some quality and independence of life.
The party that announces ‘if we are elected we will offer asylum to more people, prepare plans for helping them get a life, and seek ways that in time they can return to where they came from with safety and possibility” will not win the election – it is about the economy stupid – but they will put themselves on the right side of God’s history that bends towards justice.