Syrian migrants have been all over the news headlines for months now, and their tragedy of having to flee to Europe from conflict and poverty is a story still underway.
In spite of the UN and EU urging European nations to come together and help Italy and Greece cope with the desperate masses arriving on the continent, xenophobia-tinged governments are still shying away.
Earlier this month, Macedonia has closed its borders and police has been trying to stop refugees from entering with tear gas and stun grenades. The same goes for Hungarians, who have reinforced borders with fences and left hundreds of refugees stranded by closing the Budapest train station to passengers trying to reach northern Europe.
In spite of its efforts to improve the capacity of its refugee camp, Bulgaria can only hold as many as 6,000 people. Many other countries have done a lot less, however, proving that solidarity is only a word for some governments.
Deciding to write a completely different story, however, thousands of residents on the islands of Iceland are opening their doors to refugees seeking for asylum. Iceland’s official stand is that only 50 refugees are accepted in the country, but the population has decided to call on their government to help more than that.
Emotional messages of solidarity with the tragedy of Syrian refugees were posted on a Facebook page titled “Syria is Calling,” where Icelanders are showing their willingness through posts like “I have an extra room in a spacious apartment which I am more than happy to share along with my time and overall support.”
Bryndis Bjorgvinsdottir, a professor of design at Iceland Academy of the Arts, is the co-author of the page, which seems to be gaining a lot of traction among the nation’s population. Out of the roughly 330,000 citizens, 13,000 have already offered food and shelter in their own homes.
Banning hate speech and encouraging people to lend a helping hand, the page’s description contains a heart-warming message: “[…] Refugees are our future spouses, best friends, our next soul mate, the drummer in our children’s band, our next colleague, Miss Iceland 2022, the carpenter who finally fixes our bathroom, the chef in the cafeteria, the fireman, the hacker, and the television host […]”
Increasing pressure from Icelanders who want to help, the country’s Prime Minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, has proposed an emergency committee of ministers who will figure out a new plan for the nation’s contribution to the European migration crisis.
Image Source: Bursada Bugun