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This photo shows a Syrian mother trying to hold her baby above the water, after the boat they were on sank in the Mediterranean.

According to the UN, the vast majority of refugees have fled from Syria, where an estimated 220,000 to more than 300,000 people have been killed during its appalling and escalating war. The lack of compassion from many westerners that have been dumbed-down by xenophobic narratives in the mainstream media has been appalling. For once in your life, think for yourself! These people are human beings, our brothers and sisters who are in a perilous and desperate situation (largely caused by imperialism) that require urgent assistance!!

Refugees don’t hide their taxes in the Cayman Islands; Refugees don’t privatise the National Health Service; Refugees don’t influence government cuts to spending; And Refugees don’t scrape together their life savings, leave their loved ones behind, bribe and fight and struggle their way onto the undercarriage of a train, or into a tiny hidden compartment of a lorry with forty other people, watch their friends and loved ones die or get raped, all for the express purpose of bragging about earning £67.46 a week.

Imagine waking your children in the morning, feeding and dressing them, pulling a little girl’s hair into a ponytail, arguing with a little boy about which pair of shoes he wants to wear. Now imagine, as you are doing that, you know later today you will strap their vulnerable bodies into enveloping life jackets and take them with you in a rubber dinghy – through waters which have claimed many who have done the same. Think of the story you’d have to tell to reassure them. Think of trying to make it fun. Consider the emotional strength needed to smile at them and conceal your fear.

Try and envisage how it would feel like when that experience – your frantic flight from war – was then diminished by a vicious, dishonest media that crudely labelled you and your family “migrants,” as if you were a scourge on society. Imagine having little to no voice in countering this description of you so commonly used by governments and journalists.

By Steven MCcallum.