Nobody could fail to be moved by the sight of the the little Syrian boy, Aylan, who drowned in the Mediterranean.
The image of his lifeless body has been beamed around the world and has become totemic and has signalled a change in the way we think about the crisis.
All of a sudden we have been reminded that however we differ in terms of culture, creed, language and ideology, it is by means of our common humanity that we are connected. It compels us to extend the hand of friendship, compassion and assistance to those poor, frightened souls, who are fleeing humanitarian crises, persecution, war and religious intolerance.
The politicians and UN must do their job and attempt to ameliorate the situation in these countries.
In the interim period, the people of the North East have always been known for their kindness to strangers, their willingness to help the suffering and their sense of fair play. It would be a wonderful gesture if we were able to house and settle a few of these frightened families. It would show the rest of the country what they already know: that the people of the North East have compassion in abundance.
It would also be a move in the right direction if our local politicians chose to pressure the Government into perhaps recalling Parliament and organising support for refugees across the country.
A full and frank discussion of this issue is probably overdue.
The problems of wars in the Middle East and the subsequent mass movement of displaced people raises so many questions and solutions are desperately needed.