I am a law student, so I do pay a lot of regard to the law with a deeper understanding than others. However, when you break a law down reductively, it is merely a creation of somewhat objective thoughts to maintain social order. An intangibility which can allow you to end up in prison for a stretch of years if you don’t adhere to an abstract order. I don’t recommend breaking the law. But we should all question certain laws which are in existence. Yet, not just laws, but social practices and our own biases.
Today, while browsing my feeds on Twitter and Facebook, two news stories coincidentally appeared one after another.
The first was rather amusing and let me indulge in my pure hatred for our country’s transport system, where two friends met up for a catch-up in Spain rather than in the UK because flights were cheaper than catching the train. Full story here.
Following on was a much less humorous piece all about over 100 refugees tragically dying in the Med. Similar harrowing stories have been told all too often over the last few years, but the situation never seems to improve. How many more innocent lives, fleeing a warzone, have to die before change and positive revolution is achieved?
My uncertainty is to do with how we decide what is law and what is not. I can say with some confidence that the general conception is that refugees are not ‘illegal’ nor are they ‘aliens’. At least I hope a good majority feel this way – for everyone to think so liberally would be sensationalist.
It isn’t unlawful to cross a border when you have relevant and legitimate visas or exemptions, that is a fact. But why have we decided that borders factually exist? Humankind has never been faced with any concrete walls (probably of the kind Trump desires so much) to separate countries from one another. Yet, when our existence is randomised in sperm and an egg which begins a rough nine month journey into creating you, you are, by chance, born into Country X. Nobody chooses to be born where they are, yet by coming into legal existence as a human being on certain soil we are of a certain nationality. We could have been born 100 metres west in Country Y and be a completely different nationality, subject to different laws and regulations.
We are all human beings, our race, nationality and sex are all due to chance. A Syrian man seeking refuge from his war torn city of Aleppo, or a Nigerian girl fleeing the crisis of Boko Haram are humans who not only desire, but require sanctuary, comfort, and basic necessities. Two women can catch a flight to Spain for a quick reunion all too quickly, but the extent that refugees have to go to, after having suffered enough, to purely reach safety should make anybody question their own sense of morality.
But, it is not our fault that the legal system of pretty much any country makes it difficult to enter without adding something to the economy. There is definitely no free for all in England, that’s something we can agree on.
I understand why different countries must exist. To have a world leader would always end disastrously, as everyone has conflicting interests. Breaking the world down into several hundred countries is easier management – it’s like delegation. And yes, I understand why border control is important to prevent criminals, warlords, those with a thing for genocide – that kind of thing.
Governments must work together to establish a better situation for refugees. The crisis is not confined to the countries involved, but it is a global issue that requires the humanity in each of us to respond. If I had a spare room, I would gladly offer it to a refugee like an Airbnb sort of situation but without the payment. But if refugees can’t safely reach the other country to begin with, that’s not something I can be of help with.
We do have an asylum seeking service which you can see here, but probably due to the lack of funding, the displaced person must wait for a maximum of six months for a decision to be made. This is too long. God forbid if the UK had a similar crisis and many citizens were displaced across the world – we would be outraged if we were waiting in temporary accommodation for any longer than a week in a foreign country. But that’s due to how much of a grumbling nation we are. Temporary accommodation to someone in need is something to be grateful for.
The government must be held accountable, but we must thank other organisations like the vast amount of NGOs who are of tremendous help, and reinstate humanity by being of aid to a person in need and at their most vulnerable.
I guess this blog has been food for thought on laws and customs we have in our countries. I just ranted over Twitter about how humankind has some carnal desire to have to ‘own’ everything. I suppose having ‘aliens’ in your country contrasts with this concept of needing to own everything in your country, and anything not yours must either leave or also be owned. #throwback to the British Colony, I guess.
If you can take anything from this train of thought, please ensure it is impartiality, being open to critical thinking, and not taking the world for what it is, but what it should be. You don’t end up in most careers to then do the same work over and over, but you challenge and revolutionise the system, process, whatever you may be working on. Without positive change, we get nowhere as a society. Without critical thinking, laws will never develop and adapt to a growing society.
Ok – I can slot in there that laws will never develop because they’re so damn intangible, but you get where I’m coming from.