The Syrians I have spoke to have a suffered in ways unimaginable to most.
Some have shared their stories with me and this blog, some have asked me to keep their tales to myself.
They have been stabbed, tortured, imprisoned, made treacherous journeys, lost their homes, lost relatives, lost friends, lost hope in this war that has torn their country apart ever ending.
But they were the lucky ones.
It may have taken them several attempts, they may have thought they were going to die, but they crossed the Mediterranean.
They survived a journey that they shouldn’t have had to take in the first place.
They were the lucky ones.
If anyone still needs convincing as to why we should open our homes and our hearts.
This is the story of 8 year old Laya, who drowned at sea.
Aamer keeps a handwritten note in his bedroom. He found it alongside a donated microwave when he moved to Edinburgh last month. It was a welcome note, whose anonymous writer had wished Aamer all the best in his new life in Scotland.
In the first 6 months of 2015, 137,000 people crossed the Mediterranean Sea into Europe. The vast majority, according to UNHCR, were “fleeing from war, conflict or persecution.”
A third of those men, women and children who made it across the sea into Italy or Greece were from Syria.
The journey is not for the faint of heart. In April alone, 1,308 people drowned or went missing trying to cross the Mediterranean.
Front page of The National 17/11/15
This was the front page of yesterday’s newspaper. Welcoming the first round of Syrian refugees being brought to Scotland from the camps in Lebanon and Jordan.
By Christmas, around 400 Syrians will be settling into their lives here. Yesterday the first 100 arrived to the rain, the cold and a, by and large, warm reception.
Yet the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon had to stand up in the Scottish Parliament and reassure the Scottish people that those coming had been vetted twice. Once by the UN, then again by the Home Office.