The importance of celebrity advocacy
For my second piece, I would like to focus on an incredible advocate for the refugee crisis in the mainstream media. When I was growing up, Lily Allen was referred to by my parents as ‘the London girl who would wear Nike Air Max with a prom dress’. I remember quite noticeably on one occasion being told off for wearing my hot pink flashing trainers with my dress to a family meal because I had wanted to be just like her. Today, Lily Allen can be considered a feminist and a revolutionist, someone who I feel like speaks a whole a lot of sense.
Recently, she appeared on the BBC show Victoria Derbyshire where she met child refugees staying in the migrant ‘jungle’ in Calais. Among 1,000 youngsters, Allen met a 13 year old boy who fled Afghanistan, stating that the Taliban was trying to kill him. After telling her about his tragic story, Allen in tears, spoke “At three points in your life, we (The UK) has put you in danger. We bombed your country, put you in the hands of the Taliban, and now put you in danger of risking your life to get into our country. I apologize on behalf of my country, for what we’ve put you through.”
Lily Allen is right. The UK is failing to help unaccompanied child refugees. Taking months to process applications to allow them access to the UK is not acceptable. It has been nearly two months since both UK and French authorities were presented with a list of lone children who were eligible to come to the UK, three months since the demolition of the refugee camp was announced and almost six months since an amendment was passed forcing the government to accept more child refugees. The idea that children a similar age to myself live every day without their parents and at risk is absolutely heartbreaking. We need more people like Lily Allen to speak about the refugee crisis openly and talk about it in mainstream media channels to encourage help for these children.
By Georgia Horsfall