The shame of the St Louis, now memorialized in holocaust museums around the world, is a timely reminder. Since the beginning of this year some 340,000 people have piled into boats or trekked overland to reach Europe. They have been called a "swarm", "marauders" and "cockroaches". By August, more than 2,000 had drowned crossing the Mediterranean.
If Europe is unwilling to accept more refugees or to treat them with the humanity they deserve, they must at least apply pressure on the Eritrean government to cease its abuse of conscripts and civilians. The international community owes a duty to its most vulnerable- it must not fail to protect them again.
There is a deadly humanitarian crisis on our doorstep, and our current approach is compounding the problem. If the people in The Jungle were white Europeans, I have no doubt that we do everything possible to help them. Instead, we allow desperate people to exist in appalling conditions, and build fences to ensure they stay there. If I were a more courageous man, I would have brought someone back with me.
The 49 households that make up Massesebe were under lockdown after a man who had travelled to the village from Freetown for the Eid celebrations, died of Ebola. This was the first Ebola case in Tonkolili District in five months. 498 people, including 101 children under five, were quarantined in the village and two people confirmed as being Ebola positive.
The UK is by no means the best place in the world to be disabled. But given that as a disabled person I am able to access the basic care, equipment, education, employment I need to live, I feel very privileged in comparison to the estimated one billion disabled people worldwide, of which 80% are found in developing countries.
Today is about action, not just words - it is World Humanitarian Day. It is not a celebration. It is a much-needed recognition of those "who face danger and adversity in order to help others," a clear signal that there IS good in the world and a message to millions that life is precious. And what better way to recognise those who help others in the most dire circumstances than to announce we will give priority to new and better international support so humanitarians can carry out their mission to provide every child with opportunity in some of the most trying circumstances.
When one looks at the scale of Syria's need, it is clear that the international community cannot do enough and indeed has not done enough. The heart of the matter - support and pressure for a political settlement - is flatly blocked within the UN Security Council. Humanitarian aid appeals meet with a response, but never quite to the amount sought. For the UK, we responded - £200million to the latest appeal - and will continue to respond. And we do all we can to unblock the path to that political settlement that Syria needs.
I leave the region with all the usual feelings, heavy feelings, the same ones people much brighter and more eloquent than me have described through the years. I just have one small, unfurling seed of optimism; knowing that if water could be disentangled from the war, it presents a genuine opportunity for co-operation and relationship building between neighbours. In all the gloom there is a glimmer of hope and it's right there, in the water.