Imagine you were an irregular or illegal immigrant. Millions of families have lost their homes because of violence and warfare. Just a single refugee family, shelterless, is, for some, too much to bear.
What would you do if general warfare or regional strife were to endanger the lives of your family members? Any decision you might make will always be a matter of life or death. Put your shoes in those of a particular refugee.
Unexpectedly, violence and fighting flares up between local rebels and the Government.
It is time to flee, but your son has not yet returned home. Will death in a war zone? Or should you flee, leaving your son behind?
Fighting goes on. Men and women of all ages are being concripted by the military.
– Would risk being forced to fight and kill your own people?
– Or flee?
A man comes along telling you that he is able to help your family flee and save it, but at great costs and risk.
– Will you stay and risk death in a war zone?
– Or will you risk anything and leave your fate in the hands of others ready to help you flee?
Perhaps decisions like these might be hypothetical to you, but every minute, eight persons are forced to flee fighting, persecution or terror after encountering similar dilemmas causing great pain.
It is very important to be aware of the sufferings of around forty two million individuals scattered around the world. A recent Report by the United Nations states that eight hundred thousand people were forced to flee their countries in 2011 –a lot more than in the previous year 2010.
Refugees flee because of Hobson’s choice – where only one rational choice remains. We must opt to help them.
The situation of a regular immigrant is one off and particular: he or she has free choice and all the time to think it over, whereas refugees seem to come in abundance … That which emerges from these social status aspects is the respect we should have for the choice made. A normal and regular immigrant would have made a free choice, whereas the refugee is truly a mirror of desperation.
I solicit you to commemorate and celebrate the extraordinary courage and role of refugees, past and present.
While the story of each refugee is different and pain and sufferings are personal, they all share a common line of extraordinary courage: courage not only to fight for their lives, but also to preserve and build anew their broken lives.
To somehow end on a positive note, recent history proves what I have just stated in the preceding paragraph. Suffice for me to mention eight persons, well known by many, who from a life of refugee went on to achieve success and make a name for themselves.
These were Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright (Secretary of State for the USA) and Anne Frank; these were all refugees for quite some time due to Nazi persecution during the last World War. Then, there were two musicians of world fame, Arulpragasam (a musician who fled Sri Lanka during the civil war) and Gloria Estefan (a musician who fled at the height of the Cuban Revolution).
And, ultimately, we cannot fail to mention Karl Marx (who was for a long time expelled from different countries) who had first to go through so much pain and suffering before he managed to build and raise a family in a fixed country in order to savour the success of his endeavours.