There was an article in the Washington Post on Friday written by a man who fled Kosovo when he was 16 years old. It contained quote that I Immediately understood and have been trying to convey in my real life, which sadly, seems to contain a few (thankfully only a few) fearful, hateful racists. It was this:
"Abandoning your home during wartime is not a choice or a political opportunity. It’s a survival instinct, a frantic attempt to protect yourself and your children from violence, starvation or death. "
I am tired of people with such small imaginations and such luxurious lives that they cannot fathom what suffering must be like, and worse, cannot even consider helping. I am furious that harper's first response was that continuing the war effort in Syria was the most helpful thing Canada can do. I wondered why no one commented on the fact that we had just agreed to sell a whole bunch of arms to Saudi Arabia. (I hate Stephen Harper and his supporters with the heat of a thousand suns. He is a small, small nasty man with no heart and I will never forgive him for the social damage he has done to this country.)
I can go to meetings to get 2 freaking years worth of paperwork started to be able to bring a family to my community. I can give money to the Red Cross. What I want is to do this:
I want to get between all those people and those bullets. I want to shout "STOP!" And what real use would that be? How can I get between a whole neighbourhood and a barrel bomb?
When I read about people who think the refugees are a bunch of jihadists and that North America is in some kind of peril I think it is nothing but a self fulfilling prophecy. I think the more we react to this situation with hate and fear and unkindness, the more reason we give them to fear and hate us. There has been a great deal of war and destruction throughout history in Europe, Asia and Africa. I often wonder how long it will be before it comes here. Because it will come here.
Climate change is a huge factor in what is going on in Syria. Climate change is driving great masses of people out of their homes. No nation is addressing its contributions to climate change quickly or thoroughly enough that we will ever stop that. When our homes become utterly hostile to our existence, we have no choice but to leave. And when we in the north who have NOTHING BUT SPACE! for Christ's sake choose to turn the fleeing away, I think we are only ensuring that we will eventually be met with violence.
The right thing to do is feed and shelter and care for our fellow persons.
The whole history of humans is about subjugation to some small, hateful group. It is always a struggle for some kind of freedom. I doubt that its going to change. Maybe I'm an idiot, but when I don't know what to do, I ask myself, "what would love do?" And then I just do that. Today I just feel so monstrously impotent. Some day I hope I will figure out which tank I need to stand in front of.
Last weekend Michael Enright played a reading of Warsan Shire's poem "Home." I knew two lines of it, but I had never heard the whole thing.
Home - by Warsan Shire
no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
your neighbors running faster than you