When visiting London’s Liverpool Street Station few can fail to be moved by Frank Meisler’s ‘Kindertransport’ memorial to the 10,000 refugees - mainly Jewish children rescued from countries under Nazi occupation immediately prior to the outbreak of World War Two.
On arrival in Britain, they were housed in British foster homes, hostels, schools and farms. The late John Thaw’s memorable performance in the film, ‘Good Night, Mr Tom’ is a reminder of how evacuees - including a young Jewish boy - were treated during those darkest of days.
I would argue that we face a similar moral situation today - we are all on the horns of a dilemma as to what action our government should take when faced with an unprecedented number of refugees seeking asylum in our country.
We still refer to Britain being a Christian country. Now is the time when our faith will be put to the test. Whatever one’s denomination or religious affiliation - to do what is morally right. The time for arguing the finer points of theology is over - actions now speak louder than words!
I have no doubt that this European crisis will affect each and everyone of us in Horsham district in the not too distant future. All local authorities will be asked to do their bit with providing emergency accommodation - and those fortunate individuals owning more than one property may well be persuaded to house a refugee family. Here strong local leadership will be required - from our elected councillors - from the clergy and from voluntary organisations.
Such a mass movement of population will doubtless have a lasting effect upon our beautiful county of Sussex. We are already termed a multi-racial, multi-cultural country but we can expect yet more change and it would be unreasonable not to expect a backlash to what amounts to a bloodless invasion.
But today we live in a much smaller, integrated world than in 1939 and we have to ask ourselves that unpalatable question, ‘Am I my brother’s keeper’? As one who does not welcome change of any kind, I fear the answer is an unequivocal ‘Yes’.
ROBERT B. WORLEY
Ayshe Court Drive, Horsham
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