I have not been posting on this blog for a few weeks because of PC problems and, ironically, family issues. However, this morning, reading yet more social media and newspaper comment about "The Migrants", I felt I had to start writing again.
Back in February, after listening to a BBC Radio 4 programme, I wrote a piece on this blog called Do We Know Who We Are? relating to immigration and the lack of thought given to people's personal circumstances in the reporting of the situation in the Mediterranean.
Today, when I looked at Twitter, there is now a hashtag in use called #MigrantsCrisis. The headlines on certain tabloids and social media seem determined to make it appear that we are living under threat of faceless zombie hordes. Apparently they are "swarming", travelling in "packs". Surely this is the stuff of science fiction? Should we now be arming our borders with ray guns?
On the BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Programme yesterday, he finished a discussion about the Calais troubles with a line from a listener which referred to "our common humanity". And I believe this is what is missing from our attitudes towards "the migrants".
The terminology being used by commentators, social media and broadcasters is dehumanising. Purposely so. They are conjuring up nightmarish pictures of these dangerous hordes at the gates of civilisation.
But how civilised are we, if we cannot see the common humanity before us? How would this situation be reported if it was "hard working families" who were being "denied their rights", who were leaving European shores for sanctuary in the Middle East and being turned back or even dying at sea? Would those families be faceless migrants, zombies threatening another country's way of life?
I believe that one of the reasons slavery lasted so long was the dehumanisation of the "cargoes". Black Africans were lesser beings, therefore could be treated accordingly. Attitudes still plaguing race relations the world over today.
As I noted in my February piece, those in glass houses and all that. Very few of us can be sure that we are not descended from immigrants to the UK. Whether that be from Vikings, Normans, European refugees, people from the ex-colonies, Ireland, wherever. The British are a tapestry not an immaculate piece of finest linen. The thread of that tapestry is humanity.