I read with deep regret your report (January 18) on a petition against offering homes to a small number of Syrian refugees in Bognor Regis.
Compassion is indivisible. Setting the needs of one group of suffering fellow human beings against those of another is a tactic aimed at exploiting the least well-off in our community.
The petition may have been inspired by the hurt experienced by those signing – hurt caused by neglect of the less well-off in our society.
One is either compassionate or not – supposed compassion for one group of our fellows is totally negated by disregard of the needs of others.
In my work with refugees I constantly rub shoulders with people of like mind who are helping the homeless. I have yet to meet someone who is actually taking action to help the homeless, who does not also care about helping refugees.
The cry of petitioners in this case is often that “Charity begins at home!” And indeed it does, but what they often mean is that charity ends at home, or never got started anywhere in the first place.
We need to understand better how the resentment sparked by attempts to help other people is caused and how we must all work together to try to assuage it.
The petition seeks to divide people from one another. Those who sign it are helping a world of walls and razor wire to become further divided.
We court division at our peril.
Founding chairman, Sanctuary in Chichester and a Bognor Regis resident.