Tuesday, June 19, 2007

world refugee day

Imagine being told that you couldn't go home. Where would you sleep if all your friends and family were in the same situation and the hospitals and shelters, even the hotels were no safer?

Today is World Refugee Day and according to the UNHCR, almost 10 million people have had to answer this question. They are refugees of war, famine and disease. Tonight they will sleep in camps, in tents of plastic tarp and string. Some of them will sleep in ditches on the run. I'd be willing to bet that many of them have a hard time sleeping at all.

Take a minute and think about where you'll lay your head tonight. If you're like me it will probably be somewhere soft and warm, somewhere dry and clean and dark and quiet. It probably even smells good. There's room to stretch out and if you're really lucky, someone to stretch out beside. Above all of this, it will be somewhere safe, inviolate.

World Refugee Day isn't supposed to be a big downer but it is a day to take a wider look at the world. It's a day to think about the millions of people who have an almost inconcevable definition of "very little". Is it a day to be aware of what we have and be intentionally thankful for our own abundance. It's a day to look and see if there is just one little thing you can do, I can do, to ease the situation.

I heard a representative from an aid organization speak last week. Someone asked him what it's like to see suffering over and over again. He said that it leaves you with two choices: harden your heart to it or allow your heart to be broken. Maybe the one little thing we can do today is to allow our hearts to be broken. We can think about all of these people and acknowledge that this planet is their inheritance as much it is mine. We can refuse to let them be the forgotten.

For more information see the UN High Commisioner for Refugees.
For practical ways to help GAiN, Samaritan's Purse

1 comment:

DAve & JAnie said...

wow, i don't have much to say, but thank you for remembering so I could remember too.
It is hard to know what to do, but as you said we need to remember and allow ourselves to feel and understand that the wide world is smaller than we think. The normal everyday things we do here affect real living people in a drastic way; sometimes these effects are good, mostly they are bad. I want to effect others in a better way!