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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Refugees from our Hearts

Yesterday was World Refugee Day.

UNHCR logoIt is time for countries to see the bigger picture: the world belongs to all humans and should not be stringently kept to borders and maps.

I wanted to pen a few words on the actual day, but sometimes words are not enough.

There are times I must get up, take a stand, hold a hand and remind myself how humbling and unifying human suffering can be.

A harsh reality of modern conflicts is that millions are being displaced within their own countries. The total figure includes 9.7m people who have sought refuge abroad and who are officially described as refugees.

But there are many displaced people that cannot seek refuge abroad. There are millions of people that cannot go home.

Famine in Niger, the brutality in the Congo, the conflict in Dafur, Sudan...remote locations churning out news reports that fill our screens, so much that we begin to switch off.

Sadly, so many of these are children, their small bodies fighting disease in refugee camps, with no hope for the future. UNHCR goodwill ambassador , whose humanitarian work has taken her to refugee camps in Russia, Africa, the Middle East and Asia has been helping to raise awareness of the plight of these multicoloured angels.

So many children in a desperate battle against malnutrition, little bodies with strange names that may not connect with us, but hearts and hands connecting so well. Or at least those children that still have their limbs, and whose fragile hearts still have the strength to beat.

Aid agencies working on the ground in these countries feel ashamed at the world's slow reaction - every day they see children dying right before their eyes.

I know that we alone cannot save the world, or save our children that die so needlessly in it.

I am not writing this to ask you to donate money, or even to ask you to take a stand yourself. I am just writing this so at least those little children that are dying day by day, do not die unknown.

Let us do nothing but send a prayer. At least let our minds take one moment from out of our blessed lives to think of those babies that daily slip into the dark, never to laugh again.

Let us think of them today and of those still courageously holding on to life, so that these beautiful children who are already refugees from their homes, are not refugees from our hearts, also.

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