By Brian Pelan, VIEW editor
The charity Save The Children have launched an online petition (http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/restart-the-rescue) following the latest tragedy in the Mediterranean in which 700 migrants are feared drowned.
The petition urges UK politicians to support the renewal of rescue operations which have recently been scaled down.
It’s a laudable campaign and one which should have all our support.
The stance of Save The Children is in stark contrast to The Sun newspaper which recently published a column by Katie Hopkins in which she compared migrants to “cockroaches”.
She wrote in her column on April 19; “Make no mistake, these migrants are like cockroaches. They might look a bit “Bob Geldof’s Ethiopia circa 1984”, but they are built to survive a nuclear bomb. They are survivors”.
Her hate-filled column had the headline: “Rescue boats? I’d use gunships to stop migrants”.
On Twitter to date, the managing editor of The Sun, Stig Abell, has had little to say about the controversy which followed the publication of Hopkins’ article.
Migrants who are attempting to escape to a hopefully better life are not “cockroaches”. They are human beings with aspirations and dreams, just like the rest of humanity. They are fathers and mothers, sons and daughters. They have names.
To dehumanise people, you must first try to strip them off their humanity, hence the “cockroach” remark.
I blame The Sun more than I blame Hopkins, whose obnoxious views should not be given a platform.
A photography exhibition (http://viewdigital.org/2015/04/16/new-belfast-photography-exhibition-captures-experiences-of-our-own-migrants/), which recently opened in the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast, focuses on people from Northern Ireland who have lived and worked in other parts of the world. Migrants in other words.
They write about their experiences and how it shaped their lives.
The exhibition has more humanity within it than Hopkins will ever possess. It deserves to be seen and we should all support the Save The Children campaign.