As presidential elections are coming near and celebrity news are reaching its peak, it seems only obvious that these issues are clustered in news articles. Headlines in the New York Times and other reputable news sources have a surplus of articles on the running candidates or celebrity scandals; widespread articles include issues like Clinton and Trump were nice to each other in private and even ludicrous topics like Here’s why Donald Trump’s skin is so orange. Of course, we cannot exclude one of the most popular celebrity news pieces of this month—Kim Kardashian’s getting robbed. Yet when Trump and Clinton were debating in early October and investigators were analysing the incident with Kardashian, hundreds of refugees crammed themselves into tiny boats for a glimpse of a new life, many of whom have died.
Today, the refugee crisis is reaching ground-breaking levels. Rick Gladstone, a journalist in the NYT, showed images of refugees strangling for survival along the Libyan coast taken by a photographer, Aris Messinis. The photos are heart-breaking as they reveal the harsh reality of refugees; images feature children in tears as they are pushed up onto the boats that contain stacks of deceased people, much like a pile of fish. Messinis agreed with the spokeswoman of a Spanish aid group that they were “slave ships” and a reminder of how we are “not living in a civilized world.” Likewise, at least 25 people were missing after armed men in a speedboat attacked a refugee ship. As the photographer stated, refugees are faced with terror the moment they leave their war-torn countries; however, they even encounter barriers after they arrive at their destinations.
Australia, one of the countries that has established laws regarding the treatment of refugees, has recently been found to be going against their obligations. The editorial board of the NYT claimed in a recent article that refugees receive “cruel and indefinite detention” once they arrive in Australia as they are transported to small locations like Nauru. Discovered by Amnesty International, conditions in Nauru are so detrimental that suicide attempts among refugees are skyrocketing. An Iranian woman who attempted to kill herself expressed that she “cannot bring another person into this world.”
These are issues that are rarely discussed of today; in fact, the gravity of the refugee crisis in general is starting to dwindle away in people’s minds. The public shows concern only when some major incident occurs, such as the death of Aylan Kurdi or when team refugee appeared at the 2016 Olympics.
We need to recognize that refugees are just like us: humans with spouses, mothers, fathers, and children. As part of the larger community, we need to be more aware of the dire situation they are in so that we can support them and listen to their hidden despairs.