My country made a sad decision today, it legalised the right to keep children who were born in this country in prison camps on remote islands where known cases of child abuses take place because their parents are supposedly illegal refugees.
What does this word refugee mean, the definition of it is quite clear:
According to the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees [PDF], as amended by its 1967 Protocol (the Refugee Convention), a refugee is a person who is:
- outside their own country and
- has a well-founded fear of persecution due to his/ her race, religion, nationality, member of a particular social group or political opinion, and is
- unable or unwilling to return.
Yet we in our own country use terms like border protection and lock up children for up to a period of over 12 months, I call this inhumane and not meeting the above guidelines.
What has been said about refugees over the ages, have we improved the way we deal with them. There are many famous refugees, I had no clue Freddy Mercury was one, fleeing after the 1964 Zanzibar revolution.
Here are Fifteen quotes I have chosen to look at more useful ways to deal with refugees.
1. I work in a place who dealt with the first wave of Asylum Seekers in Australia, many of them Iranian. I will give an examples changing his name. Ali worked as an airport Manager, his younger brother was accused of political dissent. Ali was called in by the police and tortured for two weeks and on release told next time he would not leave alive. He fled the country, leaving everything behind the following day. It took him 9 months to get to Australia, and yes he came by boat.
2. Name calling by the media, used to demean not empower or open people’s hearts to these people who have suffered unimaginable atrocities that people who live in area of war do. The only way I can relate to the effects of it are when I was in Leningrad and our guide said to imagine what happened here in a 2 year period kill 1 in 5 of the people you know and that is what occurred here.
3. I saw the drone shots Russia took of the cities of Syria, as this quotes states refugees often have no choice, there is nothing to go back to. We are just very lucky to have never experienced this in our country.
4. Probably the worlds most famous refugee is Einstein. A German Jew, his work was discredited by the Nazi Party. He was one of the lucky one who got out early in 1932 and went out to make some of the most significant scientific discoveries of the modern era.
5. Tonn Benn served in the British parliament for 47 years as was seen as being the most left wing member of his party. He did not hold back in stating what he saw as the dangers of his right wing opponents, this is one of his most famous quotes.
6. Famous for We turned back the boats and Team Australia sometimes our politicians forget and let their heart slip out, this was one such occasion.
7. Go back home, to what?
8. I love the poster of two earth’s , one with all the flags over it and the other as it actually is , One planet. Then no one would be illegal.
9. They say that the strength of your team is measured by your weakest link, what does that say about planet earth and its treatment of our refugees.
10. This picture speaks to the UN convention relating to the status of Refugees, designed to do exactly what it says. Delivery, Comfort and Mercy.
11. “Refugees are people like anyone else, like you and me. They led ordinary lives before becoming displaced, and their biggest dream is to be able to live normally again. On this World Refugee Day, the 20th June let us recall our common humanity, celebrate tolerance and diversity and open our hearts to refugees everywhere.”
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary of The UN pointing out with there is no such thing as Us and Them.
12. Taken from the glorious song by Leonard Cohen Anthem. to me means that we give love as though like we have lost our country and are stateless, a pure love of mercy.
13. This is being questioned with the current refugee crisis sweeping Europe. perhaps they need to send the political leaders on a holiday to Syria for a week or two and it would be put in perspective.
14. This poem was written by a Somali refugee commenting on what happened to his country and how he thought before the war and after the war when he became one.
15. A sign that says it all, not needing the political or economic commentary, just the humane one. Please when commenting on they should go back home, remember this, especially in our country where a great majority of our immigrants were refugees.
I had to stop halfway through writing this, we had a U.N. Interfaith Harmony Week event, the ethos if this week is Love of God, and Love of the Neighbour. They has youth speakers from six different faiths, aged from 12 to 20 they all spoke of love and compassion. This gives me great hope for the future of refugees.
Namaste until next Monday my dear friends.