TURKEY and Greece are in chaos. They have been for years, but the situation has escalated, with Turkey opening its borders and Greece suspending asylum claims.

Videos shared this week offer a horrifying insight into the lives of those forced to flee and those forced to respond, because governments fail to. The videos show the Greek Coastguard terrorising a raft full of refugees; hitting both the boat and those within it with sticks and firing bullets at the surrounding water.

In another video, parents sob as they try desperately to ensure that their small children are still able to breathe through the tear gas that has been fired at them by the authorities. Tear gas can be fatal for small lungs. People are screaming, children are crying and adults are holding their arms up in surrender.

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I watched these clips in horror. Not just at what was happening, but also at my own avoidance of it all. It is easy to think that Glasgow and Greece are too far from each other to have any impact on events occurring in either place. It is easy for us to look away, to switch off the news and to choose to disengage.

But we mustn’t.

Whether you are of the “refugees welcome” opinion or the “send them back home” opinion, it will do everyone good in equal measure to do something.

If we react, respond and demand that our governments comply with the agreements they make and the conventions they are part of, then we will not have the chaos that we currently do. We will not have the barbaric conduct by police because direction from above will be clear. We will not have children left to die in freezing temperatures because asylum rights will be complied with. We will not have exhausted communities giving up on their previously proud welcome of people seeking safety because their communities will have the necessary structures to support both them and those arriving.

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The frustration is so often not with those who are arriving but instead at the fact that there is no infrastructure in place to ensure they can be supported into the space they now find themselves seeking safety in. Local people have spent years plugging the gaps and highlighting them to those who hold the power to make the necessary structural change.

But they have been ignored. Ignored to the point of now being unable to welcome; forced to halt in their kindness because they simply cannot cope anymore.

The politics is complicated. When is it not, when so many different countries are involved or avoiding being involved? But until we get Europe and the Middle East working together on this, with every country committing to its fair share of the work, we are all complicit. We are all creating further unsafe passage for thousands of people because we are choosing to do nothing.

The people in these situations are not to blame; be they refugee, local or visiting volunteer, they should not be the recipient of anyone’s blame or hate.

Thepeople are the innocent bystanders and product of inept andignorant governments, and their situations mean that they very often don’t hold the power or the stamina to take on that fight. But from the safety of our living rooms and the security of our little island, we do.