World Refugee Day
20th of June for another year. Fifteen years passed since the first day that was marked as “World Refugee Day”. What makes these people different from me or you? Why is there a day for groups of people who choose to leave their country to move to another one? Why is it that important to mark a day for people who took a small boat, being accompanied by others, to move out of their land? Why is it important to move with the risk to lose their lives, as if they would by staying back to where they grew up, to where they had their families, friends and work? That’s why is important. Because in the end, they didn’t have a choice as you and me do. Staying back would cost their lives, safety and future and so does their decision to leave.
Once more, a day has come to remind us that we refer to people and not to a phenomenon, a “crisis” to solve or a piece of land to protect. We talk about humans, who are fighting for their lives, future and families. These people represent the values and rights we took as granted, for regimes we have turned our backs to and to situations we want to avoid. As a person, it is hard for me to talk about this topic. Coming from a divided island, that people lost their lives and had to flee, I see people today acting as if they never experienced or heard their regions’ history. Europe, the land of war which became the land of peace and safety, has forgotten times which were not so far back in time.
As member of YEU, I learned more about the topic, as there are people and organizations within our family that work on the topic. Most relevant the Balkan peninsula, starting from Greece and moving on till the lands of prosperity like Austria and Germany. Listening about people that have to pass from so much, in order to live. In Europe, we forgot what is to fight to be able to live. Even minorities are so focused in their fights, that forget that united we become stronger. It is what civil society and NGOs are struggling to keep alive, unity for a better world. Yes, unity. Not because we speak the same language, or because we have the same problems. Unity because I have the power to talk on your behalf as your voice is not loud, tired from the wars, from the long trip you had to flee for your life. Because someone did it for me, or I had the power to act myself to change the world I live in. This is the moment I act to change the world for you as well. Because together we are stronger.
Seeing the news, I feel that my children will see in documentaries, as I see the ones from the World Wars, and they will see how stupidly we acted. They will be ashamed for what we could have done, based on our times but chose not to. I see their faces and it will be like, but why. They were people like us. That’s what I ask myself today. Why? Because they are different? In the world I grew up and became who I am, different was bad till the moment I stood up and said enough. We are all different in our own unique way. Background, language, beliefs, likes and dislikes, personalities, styles. We are all different, but there is one thing that makes us still the same. Being humans. That’s what we have to remind ourselves. That deep inside but also at the mirrors’ reflexion we are still humans and so are they.
As times passes and taking a look at history, people realize that nothing is forever. Life ends, borders change, rights are gained or lost. That why we need to stand together. I realize that what you just read seems negative. But it is not. It is a part of history that we need to change and be able to say to future generations that we learned once more as we always do. That we reminded ourselves that we are humans and we act as the humans who developed and learned to live in peace and to coexist no matter how different they are, because in the end of the day, we are all humans.