With thanks to Gavin Mowat, Constituency Assistant to Christian Allard MSP.
Christian Allard MSP has spoken of his thanks to the people of Aberdeen for showing solidarity with the people of France and the people of Syria at a St. Andrew’s Day march in Aberdeen.
Aberdeen Trades Union Council organised this year’s march which was themed “Refugees Welcome Here – No Racism”.
The French born MSP spoke of his wish to see more refugees coming to Scotland and suggested ways we can make newly arrived refugees feel welcome.
Speaking at the event, Mr Allard said:
“Here at the Castlegate, the French community living here with many our Scottish friends showed our solidarity with the people of Paris, the people of France. As an Immigrant from France, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came and send us messages of solidarity, Merci.
“And here today again, we are assembled at the Castlegate to show our solidarity to the people of Syria.
“I would have been much happier if we were celebrating today the arrival of 10,000 of Syrian refugees to Scotland.
“To put this welcome in context, last year, Sweden, a country of 10 million people, took 80,000 refugees – the highest number per head of population in the European Union, and second only in number to Germany.
The SNP MSP added that he could think of two simple ways to make refugees welcome:
“First, watch our language – word choice matters. You may have heard and read from many of our media, particularly the BBC, calling refugees names, calling them migrants. Let’s be clear, from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, “the two terms have distinct and different meanings, and confusing them leads to problems for both populations”. Refugees are persons fleeing armed conflict or persecution.
“The second easy way to welcome refugees is to smile, just simply smile. We greet guests coming in our own house with a smile, let’s welcome refugees with the same smile in our streets, when Christmas shopping and in our communities.
“Let’s remember where we all come from because, in Scotland’s Story, we are all worth the same.”
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