About that Daily Mail 'refugees ruined my holiday' article that everyone hate-shared

The chances are that in the last few days you've come across the Daily Mail article about refugees from the Middle East arriving on the Greek island of Kos, and the effect upon British holidaymakers.

In it, refugees are labelled "boat people" and British tourists are quoted as describing their holiday "nightmare" amid "disgusting" conditions.

The article is deliberately provocative, even more so online, and the freelance journalist who wrote it was forced to defend her actions on Twitter.

The article has been hate-shared tens of thousands of times. But in its rush for clicks, and apparent desire to outdo Katie Hopkins, the publisher obscured the humanity of more than 1,500 people who have arrived on the island in the past week.

Eva Cosse is a researcher for Human Rights Watch focusing on Greece. In a blog post, she tried to redress the perception of refugees spoiling holidaymakers' week away. While a visitor can easily describe a half-term holiday as a "nightmare", it is nothing, nothing, compared to what the people fleeing violence have experienced.

In Kos a young Palestinian from Syria named Nour told Cosse of his experiences of Isis:

They kill people, cut heads, harm us psychologically. Once, I was walking at night and I stepped on something, grabbed it to see what it was, and felt some kind of hair. It was a head. That's why we left.

Mubarek, who fled northern Afghanistan with his wife and three sons, said:

Every day the Taliban take people and children for suicide bombings. I was worried about my sons.

Jad, a 24-year-old from Syria, said he wanted nothing more than to find a way out of sleeping rough in Kos.

I'm trying to figure out every possible way to leave here. I can't handle sleeping outside anymore.

As Cosse herself wrote:

Believe me, migrants and asylum seekers want to leave every bit as much as the intolerant British holidaymakers want to see them go.

She added:

Yes, the reality of refugee suffering can dampen holiday fun. But these refugees have fled from one hellhole to another, and tourists should gain some perspective on – and hopefully show compassion for – these people who aren't on the move seeking rest and relaxation, but rather to find refuge.

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