If we could solve the refugee crisis in 1945, I know we can do it again as long as we all pull together.I’ve committed the remaining years of my life to help solve this 21st century refugee crisis that threatens humanity.
It’s why I am gratified by the help I’ve received so far in my quest to travel to Europe and the world’s refugee hot spots to shed real light on this preventable tragedy.
When I was in the Calais Jungle, in 2015, I remember thinking not far from this modern hell of desperation were the beaches of Dieppe where in my youth young men, British soldiers, waited to be rescued from the approaching Nazi army. I looked around at ramshackle Calais Jungle and reflected no flotilla boats will come to rescue these people also trapped by politics and belligerent forces.
On that journey into the Calais Jungle, I met a young lad who was no more than 24. I thought when I first encountered him that his face looked as young as a teenagers except for his eyes that looked older than my own eyes that had been looking at the world, since 1923.
I quickly found out that the weariness of life displayed in those eyes was justified. In good English, he told me that his village in Sudan had been burned down, by government forces and that some family members and friends of his had also been killed by them . He was a polite man and after showing me the squalid tent he lived in and taking me for a tour of the shambles that he now called home; he bid me good bye.
As I was about to move on and meet some other refugees, he called out to ask me in angry puzzlement, “why doesn’t anyone care if I live or die?” I was silent for awhile because I remembered that when I was young and struggling in the Great Depression, I felt the same way and I knew he was right-nobody gave a tinker’s damn for him or his kind.
It’s why I had no real answer for him but I touched his shoulder and said I cared whether he lived or died. But I knew as did he that wasn’t enough because I was just an old man. I needed to make others feel like me about him and the 60 million refugees that languish in camps around the world in subhuman living conditions.
It was right then and there, I resolved that I would do my utmost to speak out against this refugee crisis and hope that my voice in the wilderness would be heard by others. I think we have a fighting chance of turning the tide on the refugee crisis, if enough of us do our part, like we did in the Second World War to stop evil in its tracks.
If we could solve the refugee crisis in 1945, I know we can do it again as long as we all pull together.
You can donate to Harry’s Last Stand Refugee Tour here…
Harry Leslie Smith is a 94 year old survivor of the Great Depression, a 2nd Word War RAF veteran and an activist for social justice. He is the author of 5 books.