Let There Always Be a Reason to Hope for the Better

Jan 30, 05:26 PM

Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge reflects on global refugee crises past and present, conflicts which result in huge levels of human displacement. Daniel is calling on us all to be compassionate for refugees who have been ‘torn from home’ and is proud that Cambridge has recently resettled over 100 refugees.

Friends – it is an honour to be here today and to have been asked to be part of our city’s annual Holocaust Memorial Day event again, which this year is focusing on the concept of being ‘Torn from Home’. It is events like these when Cambridge is at its best. When it displays itself as being the open, tolerant and inclusive city that it is. A city that has respect for others and compassion for those in need; it is a privilege to represent such a city. Before I begin, I would like to extend my gratitude to all those that have been involved in organising today’s event, and to all those that have taken part. It is wonderful to see so many of the city's civil representatives, residents and local schools all together. I was extremely impressed by the contributions of those from the schools, it is heartening to hear the commitment of the next generation at a time when society can feel stressed and so uncertain. I would also like to briefly make mention to my good friend and your committed public servant Mayor Gawthrope, who sadly and unexpectedly passed away a few weeks ago. Holocaust Memorial Day is a significant day of remembrance for the international community - a day to remember the tragedies that inflicted Europe as Hitler unleashed his abhorrent policy of ethnic cleansing on the Jewish populations of our continent. The images that we are all familiar with, showing the horrors that bestowed an entire people, fill me with deep sadness and shock. Shock that such things could ever happen, shock that such things could ever happen again. And they did happen again, to others, in other parts of the world for example in the Balkans and Cambodia. This year of course is 25 years since the genocide in Rwanda against the Tutsis - a genocide that stunned the world for the speed and velocity in which it took hold of a nation. And still today, men, women and children are experience immense suffering in many parts of the world. In Yemen, as the world's worst humanitarian crisis takes hold, and across the Middle East where conflict is ravaging the region and has resulted in huge levels of human displacement. What does this tell us about humanity and our societies? It tells me that they are ever so fragile and reliant on stability. It tells me that 'never again' is not to be taken for granted. Racism still lingers within our communities, within our politics. I am well aware of the unhappiness that many have felt at the resurgence of anti-semitism and the continuance of Islamophobia in our country, and indeed, very sadly in my own Party – it is up to us to confront it at every opportunity - to offer hope and love and to dispel hate. We can be easily reminded of the compassion humankind has for one another when we consider the work done by those close to home. I am pleased to say that here in Cambridge, efforts are made every day to offer hope and assistance to those that have been torn away from their homes thousands of miles away. On Friday, I joined a civic event celebrating the milestone figure of 100 refugees that Cambridge City Council has resettled, and the city welcomed. It was an opportunity to celebrate the cultures of those that have arrived in Cambridge and to hear from several refugees about their experiences - something that can never be easy for anyone to relive the trauma of fleeing one's home. Resettling over 100 refugees is a fantastic achievement and one to be celebrated. I know however that the City Council is eager to do more to help those in need of a new home and an opportunity to rebuild what was lost. Many of us in Parliament continue to call on the Government to live up to their promises of supporting those fleei...