Do Not Let the Refugees Fall into Void

Hummingbird
Posted November 23, 2015 from Syrian Arab Republic
Reuters: A Syrian refugee holding a baby in an inflatable tube

Almost three months passed since the world was horrified when the picture of Syrian Kurdish 3-year-old Alan Kurdi emerged on media showing his lifeless small body laying peacefully on the sand in a serene eternal sleep. The child drowned in the Mediterranean Sea with his older brother when their family was trying to reach a better place after their home in Kobani - Syria was stormed by ISIS. The young soul’s ordeal started an international movement for refugees pouring into Europe, and by fewer numbers into other parts of the world. The story of Alan is only one among thousands of stories that passed unnoticed.

No Syrian wanted to leave home. We thought that we will build a better country for us, we thought we are passing to the future, we wanted to stay here in our homes and regain some of our rights. For five years we called for no-fly zones to protect some towns and establish safe shelters for refugees. Many times we called for humanitarian corridors, but our voices were ignored. Over and over again, we said that all this destruction will create a void, and inside the nothingness, extremists, killers and thugs will lurk and consume people’s hope. After years of war, desperation drove thousands to search for alternative ways to live peacefully and preserve what is left of their dignity.

Thousands of lives were shattered, despair crawled deep into our spirits. Syrian children are suffering from fear and anxiety, adults from fear and gloomy tomorrow. According to UNHCR, there are more than 4.2 million Syrian registered refugees, 2.1 million in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, and 1.9 million in Turkey. About 26,700 are registered in North Africa. Between 2011 and Oct 2015, the number of Syrian asylum application in Europe reached 681,713 distributed mainly between Germany, Sweden, Serbia, Kosovo, Hungary, Austria, Netherlands and Bulgaria, and other countries. OCHA estimates the number of total displaced Syrians about 10.8 million of the country’s 22 million population. These numbers were registered in mid 2014, which means now that the majority of Syrian population are fleeing for their lives. Without mentioning the thousands killed, disappeared and arrested.

After waiting for so long, and as the world started to forget what Syrians are going through, people decided to take matters into their hands and seek for themselves for their rights to have a normal, safe and decent lives, similar to millions of people around the world. Syrians marched, they found a way. Everyday, rubber boats carry dozens in a life threatening journey in the Mediterranean Sea from Turkey’s shores to Greek’s Islands. Many used their life’s savings to take a one-way ticket toward either a new life or toward death. Refugees packed the remnants of their past and set off for the unknown.

When my brother decided to take the journey of death we didn’t try to persuade him to stay, the choice is either taking the risk in the sea or engage in a bloody war. He climbed over a rubber boat with dozens of men, women and children. On the way from Turkey to Greece, the boat stopped in the middle of the sea, and the young men in the boat stroke the water back to the Turkish shores, fixed the boat and tried again. They reached a Greek island by dawn, and from there my brother got help from a group of monks in that island, a Greek female doctor welcomed him and his friends in her own house, and others on his way to Sweden where he is trying his best today to show that he is a good samaritan. Such actions of altruism presented to many refugees in their long journeys manifest the essence of humanity. We are grateful for the humans in Europe and around the world who cried for us, those who welcomed them in their homes, those who greeted them in bus and train stations, those who shared the journey with them taking aid and water. These actions revealed to us what could the future of humanity would look like, a future we wish to witness one day.

These refugees are searching for a life, and it is not easy to replace all what one has ever knew, it is not easy to start over again, to try to heal and forget, this needs courage, and cannot be done without compassion.

Preventing the people from seeking their right in having a stable life is not an answer to stop the madness, on the contrary, keeping refugees in the nothingness will make them lose faith in a sympathetic and human world, keeping people in the limbo does not solve any issue, shutting them out behind TV screens and just observing their agony will shatter all of the promises of a better world for us. Inclusion and empathy is the only response to fight fear. People are living under terrorism everyday in Syria, trying to survive and find a meaning and an answer for why all this is happening to us in the post “Never Again” era?

Placing the blame of criminal actions committed by few terrorists on the shoulders the victims will empower the criminals. Doubting the just cause of the refugees will make those carrying hatred smile in their shameful victory. Instead of pushing the refugees back to where they will be used, exploited and killed, they must be welcomed, they must be shown that there is a way to practice their humanity and be worthy to have an equal opportunity to live in our global community.

The way this world deals with refugees’ crisis is not specific to Syrians, it will send a message to the entire world regarding the world’s current stand to human rights. Our war today is not a war of religions, races and nations, our war in this age is to preserve the human values and principles many men and women fought for through history till today, by their great achievement and simple heroic daily actions, in order to reach equal opportunities for all and seek a better day for the entire world.

What is left for us Syrians right now is to fight the void where nothing grows there but hatred and insanity represented by criminals continue to kill and spread grudges mercilessly and tirelessly all around the world. What you can do now is help the rest of us to fight this void by empathy and preserving the values of democracy, liberty, equality, and dignity, through lighting a candle in your heart so we can all pass into a better humanity.

Comments 12

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Mkandeh
Nov 23, 2015
Nov 23, 2015

Hi Hummingbird,

Thanks for this post. Your piece is so touching. It resonates with many across the globe, whether seeking refuge, escaping captivity, walking away from abuse etc.You are so right about preserving the human values. It is walk we must all take. I pray you and your family continue to be safe.   

Thanks again for speaking out about this very important global issue.

M

Hummingbird
Nov 24, 2015
Nov 24, 2015

Dear M,

I am glad that you read my article, I know how hard it is to be homeless and nearly hopeless, but what I know more is that some support and solidarity can make the love and compassion endure.

Love,

rhania bensafia
Nov 23, 2015
Nov 23, 2015

I am very touch about your story . I just cannot find the words to express my sympathy. I wrote an article as well about the situation of the refugees and also about the violence around the world. I was not to long ago in a refugee camps in my country France. I was so disturb with what I saw more than 4000 peoples refugees living in miserable's conditions ,most of them are trying to get to England but they are not aloowed to cross the border ,they are treated worse than animals in a so called civilized country France my homeland .Very little is done by the french government. I was touched by the fact that volunteer took the manner into theirs hand and help the best they could. And they still do. I spoke to many Syrian, Afghan, Sudanese, they all had to flee their country because of the war. They just want a new life a new start.it just break my heart to see that we let them live in these conditions. The Jungle refugee camps in Calais has more than 6000 people today. There is only 30 portable toilets , no shower, one meal a day. and theirs shelter is a tent. I am thankful for all the volunteer that are helping and doing what the European nations should deal with. Give them a chance give them a home treat them egal with respect decency and humanity. The refugees need attention now,they already suffered and don't need any more. I am ashamed of Europe for being passive and arguing over humanity. WE need to wake up and take responsibility. We must preserve our human value and Treat each others with respect dignity and egal. Let be civilized give homes to the refugees, let them move freely. I am so deeply move by your story and like you i light a candle in my heart and in my home. I pray for peace every day no more violence no more pain and no more sufferings.

Hummingbird
Nov 24, 2015
Nov 24, 2015

Dear Rhania,

I am moved by your words too, and thankful that you also took the decision and went to see what the refugees are suffering in Calais. I imagine your trip was fraustrating and filled with mixed emotions, but whenever we can't reach we depend on those who are moved by humanity's suffering to act and care. Yes, we all need to wake up and take responsibility of our own future.

Thank you for caring and sharing your thoughts and emotions, it means so much to me to learn what others think and feel.

Love and light,

Tamarack Verrall
Nov 26, 2015
Nov 26, 2015

Dear Hummingbird,

My heart is crying, reading from you the very direct news of what has been done and continues to be done to so very many Syrian refugees. I, too, hold a lit a candle in my heart, and want you to know that many of us here in Canada are very aware, and working to welcome 25,000 people soon, a promise from our newly elected Government. We also are very aware that this number must be just the beginning, knowing that so many millions have been forced to flee for their lives. To read your news gives us very important information, that hopefully will help in our ongoing discussions with people who do not have hearts open enough yet, and to counter the fear-instilling messages that are being spread by some. Many of us here also do not understand why a humanitarian No-Fly Zone was not created years ago. As a global humanity it is our responsibility to create safe homes for everyone, and to find a way to end this escalating madness. I was touched deeplty that you have the strength to maintain this global vision that there is ongoing brutal treatment of people in so many places, and that people fleeing from all these places need safety as well. It is indescribably horrific that any and all of this is happening, and I cling to hope, through the individual and collective acts of people everywhere who dare to address it, and who act with compasion and empathy. Please know that many of us will never stop working toward the humanity that you are calling for. I am grateful that you have WorldPulse, and grateful for your strong voice, giving us news that we can carry forward.

With love in Sisterhood,

Tam

Hummingbird
Nov 30, 2015
Nov 30, 2015

Dear Tam,

I am very touched by your words, listening to many people express their support, solidarity and love gives me and others hope and faith in what we all trying to establish in our world, bridges of compassion, gloabl solidarity, mutual respect, embracing our difrences and establishing the secure feeling that whatever happens to us we will always be taken care of. I hear your cry and I sense the warmth of your shining candle. Thank you, and your government.

Love and light,

DeborahEdward
Nov 30, 2015
Nov 30, 2015

Dear Hummingbird,

Thank you so much for your post that so eloquently describes the Syrian experience. You capture so much of this refugee challenge - by the numbers, by the people....what people are leaving and what they are finding as they move into a new way of being in the world. The experience sounds/feels so hard, and to watch your brother endure this must have pulled your heart so much. So many people are coming out to help, as individuals, and as communities. It is so unfortunate that governments are sometimes the last to remember the values that you spell out so well - democracy, liberty, equality and dignity. As I light candles during this holiday time in my country I will think of your words and of the situations faced by so many from Syria and from other countries that have so much strife and seek better lives. Thanks you!

Hummingbird
Dec 03, 2015
Dec 03, 2015

Dear Deborah,

Thank you so much for reading the article and for your compassion with the refugees' cause. Most of my writings address people and societies because I believe in the compassion inside many people around the world, politicans always measure their actions with the scale of gains, but people see the human behind the description of refugees, victims, casualties..etc. 

Another candle will make the world brighter. Lots of love to you and your loved ones. 

Kat Haber
Feb 21, 2016
Feb 21, 2016

Such a powerful image and compelling story. Thank you!

ARREY- ECHI
Feb 27, 2016
Feb 27, 2016

Thank you very much for this post. None with an ounce of humanity left will not be moved by such a story. I have followed the Syria Crises both on TV and on social media. I remember the case of this young child because it was a heated topic on Facebook. Reading some of the heartwrenching stories of the Syrian Refuges on Humans of New York always leave me crying. I really do admire your courage. It is not a situation anyone could wish to go through.

rosemary_ntoipo
Jan 31, 2017
Jan 31, 2017

Dear Hummingbird,

Am touched by your post. Many times I watched and listened about Syria on TV but what you wrote here made me understand the relentless struggle by people of Syria and the qualm associated to it as they left their homes for places less known to them as in the case of the young child and the brother.

Thank you so much for your courage. I pray that all will be well some day and that Syria rebuilds and becomes a safe place again.  I add a candle to make the world brighter. Wishing you well

With lots of love.

Rosemary

Hummingbird
Jan 31, 2017
Jan 31, 2017

Dear Rosemary,

Thank you for your comment and for reading this article. I am praying with you that a day will come when peace prevail and loved ones reunited. 

Sending you love,

In solidarity,