05 Dec NO PLACE LIKE HOME
The distant memory of the soldiers invading their village, shooting the men, raping the women and children then setting fire to the buildings, leaving the survivors with nothing, still burned strongly in the heads of the refugees. Their leaky old boat was half drifting half sailing its underpowered engine struggling to push it forward with the weight of the human cargo towards mainland Greece. Baling out was a constant necessity to save the vessel from floundering which would surely mean that they would all drown!
Finally, mainly through good luck rather than skill, the boat made land on a deserted stretch of coastline its exhausted and relieved occupants, women, children and the elderly sat on the stony beach in the moonlight. They had no idea where they had landed, where to go, what to do, so they just sat on the coastline. Children were crying with hunger, the women were attempting to build a fire, and the elderly people just sat with a vacant expression on their faces as seen on news reports all over the world.
Suddenly the area was ablaze with light from the cliff top.
“Stay where you are” barked an amplified unfeeling voice. As if they had any energy left to go anywhere! Troops suddenly appeared, children screamed as the last memories of the army came flooding back to them. But these were different soldiers, they still had guns but they were distributing food and more importantly water to the pathetic gathering of fatigued people. They were led up to the cliff top where there were lorries to take them to the refugee camp.
When they arrived at the camp, interpreters came out to establish where they were from. Syria, a war torn ravaged country where civilised society had been destroyed by the so called ISIS insurgent group hell bent on undoing everything that the country had achieved. They had destroyed ancient buildings and monuments declaring that they represented the ‘old ways’ without putting forward any viable proposals as an alternative. Ancient relics and artefacts were sold on the black market to western buyers to fund the evil regime. The persecution and murder of gay people, western hostages taken and publicly murdered were typical acts of this backward thinking movement. No wonder the whole thing failed as it properly should.
The refugees were moved on through the Balkans and into Europe, country after country offering the bare minimum of aid, then pushing them over the next border and out of their hands. Word spread that the UK was the place to be, sympathy and assistance was on offer but another sea crossing to endure. This time their boat was at least seaworthy but again seriously overloaded and they were picked up by the UK Border Patrol vessels and taken to a refugee centre where they were given food, shelter and medical care. Then they were put on the register for re-locating.
Many refugees went to Scotland and the Scottish Isles where the comparatively simple lifestyle was more suited to their backgrounds.
One Syrian family on arriving at the Crofters Cottage they had been allocated on the Isle of Bute, breathed a huge sigh of relief that the ordeal was over.
“Are we home now?” asked the children
“Yes but this is no place like home” replied their parents!