Monday, August 31, 2015

Refugees are "rats in human form" response to Ormskirk Volunteer in the Calais Jungle newspaper article

Thank you to the Southport Visitor Newspaper for the coverage of ten day volunteering during August in the Calais Refugee Camp.

Photo taken in the Calais Refugee Jungle Camp

The article generated a number of responses in the comments section, most were favourable to the plight of the refugees.  Indeed the comments demonstrated that there are other people in the North West who support the refugees and are doing their own work to collect and distribute donations to the camp.

However, one person decided to respond altogether less favourably and called the refugees "rats in human form" and "filth".  In response, I wrote that I wondered if this chap suffered from a form of personality disorder, and while we should hate the actual comment, we should go easy on any poor soul who could utter such a vile thought. But on the other hand, it's perhaps dangerous to dismiss such comments as the raving of a mad man. If you replace "illegals", as he refers to the refugees, with "Jew", then we've been here before in Europe's not so distant past. The refugees in Calais are not rodents or a swarm, they are men, women, boys and girls, like each of us and they deserve our empathy and assistance.

Supporters of the refugees on the Facebook group Calais - People to People Solidarity - Action from UK took a different view to both the horrible comments and my response.  Leanne said "Can we please not equate mental health diagnoses with making hateful comments? Having a mental illness does not make a person racist!!!". Leanne is right of course, having a mental illness does not in general make someone a racist. I am not tarring all the people with a mental illness with the same brush. However, to refer to a group of people as "rats in human form" and "filth" is perhaps indicative of a sociopathic personality disorder.  On the other hand, my wife Heather said that perhaps the man is just horrible and horrible people say horrible things.

Andrew, from the organisation A Safe World For Women, said in reponse to the "rats in human form" comment "I would suggest this counts as incitement to racial hatred and most certainly hate speech".  Andrew has requested that Trinity Mirror Plc, which is the publisher of the Southport Visitor newspaper, ensures that the offensive comment is removed.

The majority of the comments to the article show once again that  despite the political differences regarding how the refugee crisis should be handled, many of us can still come together and agree that compassion for our brother and sisters trumps xenophobia.

Calais people to people - Solidarity - Action from the UK logo

If you want to donate food, clothes, money or volunteer your time to help the men, women, boys and girls in the Calais Refugee Jungle Camp, please join the Facebook group Calais - People to People Solidarity - Action from UK

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