When we see the media coverage of the refugee crisis, particularly the pictures of people trying to enter Europe, it’s easy to see why people are turning against them. People become faceless in crowds. We fail to see the trees for the forest, so to speak.
But we need to recognise that refugees are not faceless. They are human, just like me, just like you, just like your best friend and just like your next door neighbour. They too have a family, a home and a story.
But it seems that the media can’t sell papers with this narrative. Instead it perpetuates the images of faceless crowds - a homogenous mass of people with only one goal. The media has consistently failed to point out that they have faces, smile lines, noses which get burnt in the sun, blushing cheeks and even spots.
It’s a story that wants you to think that there's nothing you can do. They are ‘not us’, ‘not like us’ and ‘not for us’.
But there is something we can do.
As followers of Jesus we’re taught to welcome the stranger, protect the alien and support the vulnerable. The one thing which media is saying that’s true is that these people are strangers to us - their lives are alien and they’re vulnerable. But that just means we should seek to befriend and support them; find out more about them and welcome them.
We’re called to love and care for them.
So, do you believe that it’s wrong for the media to represent refugees as faceless, worthless and a drain on society? If so then we need your help! We’re calling for measured, responsible and human reporting by the media when covering the refugee crisis - That they recognise the people behind the label.
Because refugees are just like you and me.