A recent appeal for support from Refugee Action York (RAY) drew the ire of some readers.

I would encourage those complaining to consider that it is a matter of sheer good fortune that they’re in the position of not needing such help. Good fortune, in many cases, based on having been born on a rock in the North Atlantic rather than one elsewhere. Because when we strip away the acts of collective imagination that surround us (nation, region, economy, government) and the social fabric that those endow, that’s all the separates ‘us’ from ‘them’.

Those that feel they enjoy this happy chance because of some moral, intellectual or spiritual superiority over people from other countries need only look to the recent actions of some people here when that social fabric frayed: panic buying, hoarding and refusal to accept the slightest inconvenience to keep others safe (eg wearing a mask).

If the merest crack in society was enough to bring out the mean-spirited underbelly of some Brits, consider how those same people would cope in Eritrea, where an appalling system of indefinite national service leaves the country’s young people facing a choice between exile and institutionalised slavery.

Seeking refuge for many is an act of desperation. All that separates the refugee from those (however unwillingly) providing refuge is luck.

A Cunningham, Bishopthorpe