MOTD host’s comments cause controversy

A number of children from the Calais migrant camp are arriving in the UK this week. Source: malachybrowne via flickr

by Sarah Harris

Last week, former footballer and Match of the Day host, Gary Lineker tweeted, ‘the treatment by some towards these young refugees is hideously racist and utterly heartless. What’s happening to our country?’. Lineker’s tweet was met with heavy criticism and caused a huge stir on social media. It leads us to question why the subject of the UK welcoming vulnerable child refugees is met with such negative reception. Surely we should welcome these children with open arms after the horrific situations they’ve had to experience?

Hundreds of children from the Calais refugee camp are supposedly to be bought to the UK over the weeks to come. The home secretary, Amber Rudd, stated that almost 800 child refugees that claim to have family links in Britain have been interviewed by the Home Office and 200 have already been brought to the country. The story of a 49-year-old refugee who is currently residing in Germany was brought to the media’s attention this week. Ghazia A has 4 wives and 23 children and receives nearly a whopping $400,000 worth of benefits. However, based on the amount of family members he needs to support, surely this is a satisfactory amount and people shouldn’t be concerned about it?

This brings us back to Lineker’s controversial tweet. Media tabloids were plastered with covers claiming that Lineker had just insulted the whole of Britain by referring to them as racist. However, nowhere in his tweet does Gary Lineker call the entire nation ‘racist’. He is simply referring to those who are objecting to refugees entering this country based on their religion and ethnicity, which he has every right to do. A couple of days later, he went on to tweet, ‘getting a bit of a spanking today, but things could be worse: imagine just for a second, being a refugee having to flee your home.’

It’s been over 2 years since the Syrian Refugee crisis began and it seems that as time goes on, more people are becoming insensitive towards this topic. We live in a world that is orientated around celebrity culture and in which more people are concerned about the colour of Kylie Jenner’s hair than the fact that thousands of refugees remain homeless in Calais. Just for a moment, imagine yourself in their position, and then reconsider whether having a couple thousand refugees move to the UK will really have such a huge impact on you.

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