On the Humanity of Refugees

The crisis in Iraq and Syria has forced us to discuss the plight of refugees.  We tend to look down upon at refugees as if they were  creatures from the outer space.

Cycle of life keeps changing  constantly.  One should never take things for granted.  A society that might be living lavishly today,  tomorrow could be different.

Things could take a dramatic turn and those who thought they had it all could be at the mercy of other countries as they could  loose everything including their own  safety and security which they took for granted. Everyone could be running for his or her life leaving behind loved ones, not knowing who is still alive and who wasn’t lucky enough to survive.

I was in Mogadishu early in 1990 when the civil war was starting.  While we could hear sounds of sporadic gunfire, no one took it seriously. We thought it will soon end and the Siad Barre government will soon restore stability in the region. We didn’t imagine things will soon get out of hand.

Abruptly,  the  situation took a dramatic turn where everyone including the President himself had to run for his life.  There was a complete chaos in the country.  Even those who sought refuge at houses of worships were not saved.

Ethnic groups like my people who had their own town called Barawa were savagely attacked by all the bandits from different clans.

We never imagined we would end up in a fully packed ship to escape for our lives heading to our neighboring country of Kenya. People who had everything ended up with nothing.

In spite of its own economical challenges, Kenya did everything it could to provide us with shelter and food. We can never repay its goodness and heartwarming welcome.

One should never take things for granted and start looking down upon refugees as if they were subhumans.  You never know what tomorrow will bring to your doorstep.

We.should do everything possible to alleviate the suffering of those who happen to loose everything. These helpless people had probably lived a far better life that we can ever imagine. But life took its unpredictable turn.

It could happen to anyone without exception.

We should cherish what we have as nothing in this life stays permanently.  Someone who might be the richest one in town might lose everything the next day.

Upon seeing the plight or refugees who are being treated like animals in some parts of Europe such as Hungary and Croatia I felt hurt and devastated. I felt sorry not for the refugees but for those ignorants who are taking things for granted not knowing what is stored for them tomorrow and the days to come.

We should cherish and appreciate the freedom and security we enjoy. You can walk on the street in the middle of the night with a sense of security as no one will shoot at you or demand you leave your house.

The government that is in power will not make a fuss when it loses an election.  Election time in Africa means certain death and destruction. No party will accept a defeat. Hell will brake loose.  Blood will flood the street like a river as soon as the results are announced.

Refugees who fleeing their lives in Syria and elsewhere deserve our undivided attention. What goes around comes around.  If we forsake them today, we will be forsaken tomorrow during the hard days as change could come.without notice.

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Abubakar N. Kasim lives in Toronto.

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