Dollis Hill man, 20, whose family fled Cyprus calls for solidarity with Syrian refugees
PUBLISHED: 10:20 09 September 2015 | UPDATED: 10:20 09 September 2015
A political activist from Dollis Hill has called on residents in Brent to show their support for refugee families escaping "unspeakable violence" in Syria by sharing their own stories of arriving in the UK as refugees.
In the wake of thousands of refugees making the dangerous journey to Europe, Anton Georgiou, 20, from Ellesmere Road, has told his own family’s story of arriving in the UK after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.
His grandparents, mother and two aunts were forced to abandon their home and all their worldly possessions in Famagusta, Cyprus after soldiers invaded their town.
The Liberal Democrat activist, who is hoping the community will welcome Syrian refugees as victims of a humanitarian crisis, said: “This issue is very close to my heart.
“The UK gave refuge to my family and for this they will be eternally grateful. They became part of London’s ‘mosaic society’.”
His grandparents opened the popular Primavera restaurant in Cricklewood and brought up their children with a deep respect of the country that offered them safe haven.
But far from being welcomed as hard working and economically valuable members of society Mr Georgiou says Syrian migrants are being “vilified”.
He said: “Seeing innocent people who want nothing more than to seek sanctuary, who have gone through such unthinkable lengths to get here, being vilified by mainstream politicians and by the media is utterly heartbreaking.
“The narrative on this crisis has consistently sought to blame the refugees, instead of highlighting the reasons why they are fleeing their homelands.”
Mr Georgiou says migrant families from across Brent could help to improve understanding of the desperate plight of refugees by sharing their own story of arriving in the UK from conflict zones with the Times over the coming week.
He added: “My family are refugees not through choice, but because they were forced to flee war, in the same way that millions around the world are fleeing unspeakable violence, famine and drought in their homelands.
“This crisis is a humanitarian one, and we must see it that way. We must all pull together and do more to help fellow human beings who need our support the most.”
If you would like to join Mr Georgiou’s campaign and tell your own story of seeking safe haven in Brent, email Hannah.firstname.lastname@example.org.