Today is not the 20th of June, but still I want to write about the power of the refugee’s. Why so? Because these past month a few Afghan refugees lost their father, husband, brother, son to an injustice way of trial. These people are the victims of the 1F process. They shifted in meaning from refugee to criminal in just a statement by Taliban members. Their whole trial is based on that statement. So if I am not mistaken these refugees are stamped in ink as ” criminal” based upon the word of an terror organisation that the west is fighting right now in Afghanistan, the “Taliban”. To still honour the fight and courage of these people that have suffered injustice in their own country, fled from war and pain and tried to seek shelter and once again got injustice, I wrote this article. The journey of a refugee is that of courage and that deserves respect.
On 4 December 2001 the United Nations General Assembly decided in the Resolution 55/76, that from 2001, 20 June World Refugee Day will be celebrated. When I think of the word celebration I think of the beginning of a new life, a success, an accomplishment, a day of joy for family, friends and relatives but celebrating the day of the refugee was an odd thought. While every year thousands of people flee their home, city, country and sometimes continent we in the west try to accomplish awareness by celebrating one day in a year.
I fled a country named Afghanistan when I was a child. My memories are vague and my awareness zero. I had the fortune that my childhood made sure that the process was more exciting to me than fearful, that those days for me were a colorful journey to new places, new things and lots of adventures. My childhood protected me from the fear of getting caught, I had no idea of how leaving everything behind felt like. I had no idea how the fear of losing a loved one every step during the journey felt like, I had no idea how it felt to have no clarity about the future of yourself and your family and how it felt to leave a place you grew up. My parents did. They felt every bit of the pain and loss I describe here above. Still they managed to leave everything they build and worked for and only took along their most precious things. They took along their family, a few clothes, some money to survive the journey and memories. In the Netherlands we have a game called “ I go on vacation and I take along..”. A refugee has a small bag of broken dreams, hurt feelings, destroyed history, punished future, fearful moments and burning memories. That’s all they are taking along and that baggage seems small in amount but gets heavy to carry every step you take during the journey.
It takes more than a celebration of one day to understand the pain of a refugee. A refugee is a marked patient with 3th degree burning wounds of broken dreams and failing wishes. Still they manage to build a new existence. These people know pain, hurt and misery but despite all they laugh, celebrate and adapt a new life. How do they manage? Bob Marley once said : “ You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice!” They had no choice.
And every time you think of all those refugees in your country, eating your food, living in your houses, using your money, getting your jobs think of what you would do if you had no other choice. These people are not here because they enjoyed the process but because most of them did not have any other choice. The only thing pushing them forward is the courage which can’t be described. Courage to overcome fear, courage to carry the pain, courage to seek help, courage to be vulnerable, courage to dream again, courage to smile, courage to overcome. If you know that, see that, understand that and still are nagging about your country being full then I can only conclude that you are not only a coward but there is also something missing in your chest, called a heart!
by Sodaba Abibzay