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People Power: How One Person Can Start to Make a Difference.

Bryndis Bjorgvinsdottir, a popular Icelandic author and folklorist, recently urged her fans and friends on Facebook to demand their government increase help of Syrian refugees. The initial offer of taking in only 50 refugees was so paltry in the eyes of over 10,000 Icelandic people (nearly 4% of the population) that they took to social media with Bryndis, to express their willingness to help. People on the Facebook page have commented how they would take in children and families, many of them being parents themselves and empathising with the protective instincts of desperate Syrian mothers and fathers. Thankfully the Icelandic authorities have listened and responded positively with Welfare Minister Eyglo Hardardottir pledging to increase the number of refugees taken in by Iceland. It is heart-warming to think that one person can make such a difference: Bryndis threw one pebble into the water and the ripples created could save thousands of lives.

I believe this show of humanity comes from being humble and empathetic: humble enough to know that being born in a certain country does not make one better than another, and empathetic enough to truly listen to the voices of those in need.

In the UK I hear so many scared people but these people aren’t scared for the safety of others, just themselves and their false sense of patriotism. We could easily take in more refugees and we should feel a duty to, not just because the West’s involvement has arguably done more harm than good, but mostly because they are humans and so are we. How can we call ourselves a ‘developed nation’ when we haven’t even developed empathy for displaced families and dying children?

Fellow humans within the For Reading Addicts Community: don’t ever think you could not make a difference. Never forget that if you are afraid to shout alone you can add your voice to the chorus of many others. Sign that petition, send that donation, travel to the nearest refugee ‘camp’ and donate. Do what you feel you can, because the last time I checked the world was round and the borders were artificial.

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One Comment

  • Michele says:

    it’s taken me a little while toget around to reading this piece ….. Thank you Rowan, firstly for publicising the action in Iceland, and for further extrapolating on the point of action and compassion. I particularly liked your comment that the world ‘was round and borders artificial’. Incredibly true. Although humans have been creating tneir own borders from time immemorial. We have a saying here in Australia which is now a song (although I’m not sure what came first, the saying or the song) “from little things big things grow” , and your comment piece here is proof of that. Sadly, over this side od the world the Goverment’s approach to the refugee crisis is anything but compassionate. For most decent Australians the official approach is an anathema. But little things are growing, as is witnessed by a wonderful organisation in Melbourne which is providing huge practical assistance to asylun seekers (The Asylum Seekers Resource Centre), and also due to huge spontaneous candlelight vigils in the past days, which have virtually forced our government to accept a further 12,000 Syrian refugees. We live in hope that real solutions are found for this crisis.

    Thank you again for writing this. It deserves more comments.

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