yearning to breathe free….

refugee children

Here in Europe we are receiving images daily on our TV screens of a sea of refugees struggling in their escape from persecution at home and arriving in Europe.  I want to help in some small way.  Tomorrow I’m taking a suitcase full of winter clothes, sheets and blankets to my local Red Cross up the road.  And a few stuffed toys.  How anyone can look at those children and feel nothing is beyond my comprehension. (UNICEF link below)

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free….”

refugee one

Imagine leaving all your worldly possessions behind, cramming bare necessities into one backpack or small suitcase, shutting the door on your house, never to return, and then leaving your homeland on foot.  And then walking for days and days, with your children, some of them babies or toddlers, sleeping in fields or in train stations, crossing turbulent waters in a rubber dinghy.  Not knowing what awaits you, not knowing what dangers lurk, not knowing where you’ll end up.  If there’s a time for these brave people to have faith in their God, then this is it.  But they should also have faith in humanity and in the assistance of their fellow human beings.  And that’s us.  You and me. 

“The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me…”

Why am I so pro-refugee?  Because the West is primarily responsible for their distress, the USA in particular: the Bush administration’s naked military invasion of Iraq in 2003 which led to degenerating the country into turmoil and then, once US soldiers there, Obama’s inept decision to end its military involvement in Iraq in 2011.  Obama’s inaction towards Syria in 2012.  But the worst was Hillary Clinton’s intervention in Libya to intentionally topple Gadhafi.  The consequence has been disastrous.  It is the USA who should be receiving the bulk of the refugees, more than the EU. 

Many of us were refugees, migrants or asylum seekers…or our parents or grandparents were.  My maternal grandfather fled Riga (Latvia) for England.  My parents left England for Canada as economic migrants.

Below – Migrants being chased by Hungarian police.  Have Hungarians forgotten the Hungarian Revolution of October 1956?

refugee two

Below is the link to UNICEF to help children worldwide.

And don’t forget the children across Gaza, a year on from Israel’s murderous assault on Gaza’s defenceless population that left 551 children dead and 3,370 injured.  Those who managed to survive are struggling today with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and life-long disabilities. (see UNICEF – State of Palestine)

10 thoughts on “yearning to breathe free….

  1. Great post. The USA needs to step up their pitiful reaction to this crisis. They are, in part, responsible for the chaos in the Middle East.

  2. Thoughtful and useful. I find myself looking for something practical to do, as well as sending money. Contributing something more than just good wishes. And you’re right to point out that we’ve all come from somewhere else. I think of my grandmother travelling to Canada in 1913, in steerage, with five small children, no English, and how she was able to join her husband on land he’d arranged through the Homestead Act the previous year. It was hard for them but no one was sealing off our borders with razor wire or assuming that they were terrorists or preventing them from further travel if they needed to move on. What a world.

    • Thanks for your comment, Theresa. Yes, your grandmother travelling to Canada in steerage, my parents taking a boat called the RMS Samaria from England to Canada in the early 1950s, and myself arriving in Paris 20 years ago and knowing no-one. One can hardly compare my story or my parent’s story with what’s happening today, but just to point out that human migration patterns are the oldest story since Adam and Eve. Even Adam and Eve were expelled from their garden and sent into exile!

  3. Thanks for your always thought-provoking and interesting perspective. No, we haven’t forgotten the Israeli slaughter on innocent Gazan children and families. We donated and continue to donate to the cause. Thanks for reminding us.

    • Thanks, Jeffrey. And then there’s the continued building of illegal settlements in the West Bank (all of those settlers are generously subsidized by the Israeli government.) We cannot count on our governments to intervene. The situation is, frankly, a disgrace and a disaster.

  4. I really enjoy reading your blog, Juliet. The world opens as I see it from your Parisian (and of course, personal) perspective. Love your photos and travel posts too!

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