Harry's Last Stand Refugee Tour

$67,776 of $66,000 goal

Raised by 1,988 people in 4 months

My name is Harry Leslie Smith.  Harry Leslie Smith Wikipedia 
My life is at eventide because I will be 95  in February 2018. For close to one hundred years, I have witnessed humanity at its best and worst. And right now in this present age, mankind is in one of its most difficult stages. It’s why  I need your help today, so that I can complete the last great challenge of my existence before old age consumes me.  I am one of the last few remaining voices left from a generation of men and women who built a better society for our children and grandchildren out of the horrors of the Second World War as well as the hunger of the Great Depression. Sadly, that world my generation helped build on a foundation of decency and fair play is being swept away by neo liberalism and the greed of the 1% which has brought discord around the globe. Today, the western world stands at it’s most dangerous juncture since the 1930s. 
So, before my time dwindles down to a few precious moments,  I want to travel to as many refugee hot spots as possible in Europe, North America and possibly Australia to document this preventable tragedy that may lead us to another war as gruesome as the one I helped fight against Hitler over 70 years ago. I want to turn my research, my impressions, my outrage and passion into a book that can help shake people from their complacency. Moreover, while I am in the field, researching my new book on the refugee crisis; I also want to be podcasting, writing and tweeting from these camps of despair.  I know that my advanced age, activism over the last decade and use of social media can make this tour and this book an important  rallying cry to help end the Refugee crisis or at least start a sincere dialogue to mitigate the suffering of vulnerable people, everwhere.  My twitter feed has over 123k followers. Harry's Last Stand Twitter , so I know I can communicate and reach people.

Your help not only guarantees the success of my new book but it will ensure that I can continue expanding the reach of my podcast which speaks out against austerity, neo liberalism and the death of the welfare state at the hands of the entitled. It already has over 60k listens. Harry's Last Stand Podcast 

Over my close to one hundred years of life, I have witnessed or participated in the great and terrible events that shaped the 20th century. Those impressions will not die with me because I have delivered my memories of those turning points in our collective history in the five books I have already written including the much praised Harry's Last Stand, Love Among the Ruins and my latest Don't Let My Past Be Your Future.  In those works, I have laid bare the tragedies and struggles of my early life, so that the  extreme poverty I experienced as a child won't be repeated in the 21st century. During my tenth decade of life; I have traveled the length and breadth of Britain and Canada  to speak to audiences of all sizes about their responsibilities as citizens to not let society fall again into the clutches of demagogues. Most of my speaking tours have been funded from my old age pension as well as the small royalty fees I receive as a writer.  However, this new project I am undertaking will need close to 18 months to complete and much travel  which is beyond my abilities to fund alone. Moreover, I do not wish to leave debt to my family when I am gone because of my activism endevours. So, I am asking you to help share my burden of informing the ordinary citizens of this nation about the dire consequences that will occur if we do not attend to the refugee crisis, the scourge of demagoguery in modern politics as well as the growing inequalities between rich and poor citizens in all countries of the world. You have my thanks for reading my appeal. Please know that what ever I receive from you, I will make sure that this last great task of my life will be a fitting testament to my generation’s commitment to leaving the world a better place. Thank You, Harry.
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For almost a hundred years, I have been alive. I have witnessed the seasons of life come and go. I have experienced both the harshness of life lived in poverty before there was a social safety network and the plenty of life lived under the umbrella of the post world war two Welfare State that tried to make many Western Nations meritocracies. Now in 2017 as winter nuzzles itself against my window pane and snow blankets the world around me; the approach of Christmas warms my heart. It reminds me of all the love I have known and shared throughout my days on earth. It makes me recall the wonder I felt on Christmas Eve 1945 when the whole world was at peace for the first time, since 1939. I was in Hamburg- a city pulverised by war. But from the hovels where survivors of the war lived you could hear families singing Christmas carols. Moreover, in the refugee camps that dotted the city, there was a feeling of hope that the next year would be brighter than the last. All of those people are now gone from the stage of existence but I hope their off spring, still find in their hearts the grace of hope. Our time on this earth is a brief dance that is mixed with joy, sorrow, love, hate, want and plenty. The world right now is fraught with much peril and I fear for civilisation's survival. But what gives me optimism is the generosity I have seen from of all you who contributed to my Harry’s Last Stand Refugee Tour. I take comfort in knowing that there are many like me, who want to keep a candle burning in the window at the midnight, to guide those who are lost to somewhere that is safe and welcoming. Your faith in me has guaranteed that in 2018, I will begin my last great odyssey of my existence to the refugee hot spots of the world. So I’d like to send you my affection and respect. I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and the best of the season.
Until next year, take care, Harry.
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Harry's Last Stand Refugee Tour has reached 51% of its goal. Thanks to Amir, Yvonne and Alison.
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It’s my wife’s birthday today but she has been dead for 19 years now. Friede was born in 1928 in Hamburg Germany during the turbulent Weimar Republic era. As a child she saw the rise of fascism and as a child of a trade unionist, she learned quickly how evil fascism was for those who cherished liberty. Had she not died in 1999, I think Friede would have found the 21st century with its austerity and perpetual war on terrorism, despairing because she would have understood that it is leading us to totalitarianism.
Make no mistake, my wife Friede knew humanity could be cruel because she had grown up in Hitler’s Germany. But she also knew that ordinary people like her mother and others would risk their lives to show compassion to the dispossessed or those deemed enemies of state, no matter the cost to their safety.
I fell in love with my wife in 1945 in the ruins of a defeated Nazi Germany when their shattered cities were strewn with war debris and refugees. To be alive then was to feel every emotion in the sinews of your soul because we had survived the greatest bloodletting known to mankind. During my courtship of Friede, I came into contact with the great suffering of those who because of the tragedies of war had been made refugees. It was an overwhelming tide of sadness that washed across my eyes during the first few months of peace after the defeat of Hitler. Yet as a member of the RAF and as a human being I determined to do my level best to help where I could. But I was not alone then because even though Britain had been hard hit by the war, we still believed in the motto that all of us are our brother’s keepers. We gave what we could and more because, the Britain of my youth knew that not to give sanctuary refugees displace by war would ensure another war. Today, I think we’ve lost that wisdom of long ago.

In 2017, we as individuals and as a nation have to come to terms with our responsibility in solving this present day refugee crisis because across the islands of Greece, the dusty back waters or Anatolia, the windswept regions of Africa as well as the monsoon soaked regions of Asia, innocent, unlucky people languish in sub human concentration camps where despair and anger hold sway over their emotions. If the refugee crisis is not alleviated soon the dogs of war will set in upon us all. Take care, Harry
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My character has been forged by the experiences I witnessed during the Second World War. As the war drew to a close, I thought I had seen everything and believed nothing could surprise me when it comes to the cruelty of so called civilized men.

But, when my unit arrived in Hamburg as part of the allied occupation army in May 1945, which had been masticated into rubble by an air war that had left over 30 thousand dead, I encountered in their thousands refugees from the war who had fled the advancing soviet army and the victims of Hitler’s holocaust against the Jews. Looking at them as I travelled through the city on the back of an army truck you could no longer tell who was rich or poor. You couldn’t tell who was an intellectual or a worker, or a thief, a rogue. All I could tell was the war had stolen everything from them but the will to survive. Britain along with our allies worked tirelessly to save those refugees from a miserable life in squalid camps by settling them in our host countries. In fact Britain settled over two hundred thousand polish refugees at the end of war. One of them Mickey became my best friend. When he was dying 10 years ago, his mind didn’t wander to the land of his birth but instead it roamed to Scotland, where he arrived as a refugee but was welcomed as a friend and fellow citizen. All through his life he never forgot that his good fortune came because others extended the simple hand of human kindness towards him.

In November 2015, I travelled to Calais to see the Jungle for myself. I met those refugees seeking entry into Britain and a life free from the wars of their homelands. It’s not a pretty place and it reminds me sadly too much of how the world looked 71 years ago when Europe still smoldered from the dying flames of the second world war. Like then, the people in the jungle’s lives have been shorn of hearth, home and kin. Today, however, politicians in Britain have turned their back on humanity which is as brutal as averting your eyes from a sinking ship. Considering that there are over 60 million people across the globe displaced by war or brutal dictatorial regimes, we can no more ignore this tragedy than a person can ignore the cries of an abandoned child in their back yard and call themselves human. How we solve this tragedy will determine whether the 21st century is remembered as time of harmony and progress or one of blood and retribution.
It’s why in January 2018, I will begin my Refugee Crisis Tour because even though I am very old, I feel it is my duty to warn the world that if this human tragedy isn’t rectified soon all of humanity will pay the price for our indifference.
All the best, Harry
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