There was an attack. A mother takes her son by the hand. This is how he took his last breath, in the arms of the same person as the person who was there at birth. At this time, a boy is also separated from his family, he does not know when he will see them again. He says goodbye with tears and hope for a better future. Refugees.
The tragedy of refugees speaks to the pain of thousands of people. People who dream, who crave the same as you. Children who no longer know how to laugh because of all their suffering.
Who are refugees?
They can be called forced immigrants because they are persecuted in their country of origin for reasons such as their race or ideology. Also because their country does not have enough supplies or cannot guarantee the security for a dignified life.
The refugees don’t come to rob us of our work. They don’t come on a whim. They are not terrorists.
What are the psychological consequences of living as a refugee?
Living as a refugee means living in no man’s land. You cannot lead a normal life in the place where you were at home and at the same time you notice that many countries where you seek asylum do not want you. This causes high levels of anxiety or depression…and at the same time creates feelings of revenge.
Add to that constant bombardments. All of this puts a person in a state of hypervigilance and chronic stress. This often causes even more serious conditions such as schizophrenia or post-traumatic stress disorder.
It is therefore not surprising that a person with social and psychological instability performs acts that are not legal and ethical. Or becomes associated with a group that promises him safety, salvation and justice. Who wouldn’t look for an ally when everything around him is collapsing?
We don’t see that at all. All too soon we see the mote in our brother’s eye, but not the beam in our own! The extreme is gaining momentum. Aren’t all these refugees also just people living in social and psychological insecurity and looking for safety?
What is our role in the refugee tragedy?
When the slightest possibility of overcoming a hellish journey in a boat, through a desert or years of pilgrimage in the hands of the mafia is better than staying in your own country…then neither fences, nor borders, nor government decrees, police, barbed wire or even the Mediterranean itself are enough to stop a family seeking a better life, a life of dignity.
Looking the other way is not a solution to this problem. Funding the conflict won’t help either. Why are we unwilling to receive refugees, but are we willing to contribute to the financing of weapons? This double morality is alarming.
Why? Because everything always comes back to us triple. The farther we throw the boomerang, the faster it will come back to us. This is what will happen if we don’t face the brutal reality of this mass exodus. Or if we do not deny its existence, but also do not accept it in our countries. Or if we do accept and receive refugees, but then do not involve them in our society.
We must accept refugees and include them in our society
If we are only able to do one of the above and not all of them, we create a ticking time bomb. How would you react if someone destroyed your home, kidnapped your child, or bombed your family? What would you do if you had lost everything and had no chance of finding something better? What would you do if you felt helpless about everything that happened to you? If you felt like everyone around you knew damn well what was going on and did nothing?
The answer is quite simple. At the point where your life has no meaning: are you willing to destroy yourself, you seek revenge or salvation. This is where our involvement is so important.
It has been shown that most terrorist attacks have not been carried out by “terrible foreigners who have come to kill us all,” but by citizens of the country itself. The second generations who do not feel welcome in their adoptive country. They were rejected because they were not recognized as real French or German or American citizens, nor as Syrians, Iraqis, Somalis etc. People who are just friends or followers of people who want to use them as weapons.
We are no better or different from others… and sometimes we forget that
It seems we don’t remember that anymore. Just 76 years ago, 465,000 Spaniards crossed the French border seeking asylum to escape the civil war. 220,000 of them never returned to Spain.
As Neruda wrote, “Love is so short and forgetting so long.”
Illegal Spanish Immigrants Arriving on the Coast of Venezuela (1949)
But it is even more striking if we took a moment to observe ourselves, Our young people are leaving. They go to the US, China, France, Ireland…they go in search of a better future. This immigration story could be theirs, yours or ours.
It is up to us to make our voices heard for those who are crying out for help and drowning in their tears. The voices of the more than 10,000 children who have gone missing in Europe, whose families still hope to be found. And many others who sell their bodies in refugee camps in exchange for their lives.
UNICEF states that nearly 1,500 serious violations against minors took place in 2015, including murder, mutilation, recruitment or kidnapping. In 400 of these cases, children were found dead and nearly 500 of these children were mutilated. Are these children also terrorists? Please give them the benefit of the doubt.
The best practice to help is to open your mind and heart to your peers.