I blogged before about how being a refugee sucks. It really truly does. I mean, imagine having to flee your home because there is no other option.
Mind you, I love the keyboard warriors named Janet and Debbie telling South American parents to stand their ground and fight. Yes, Janet, they’ll fight the drug cartels and corrupt governments and police forces and make a change in one day.
These people are persecuted and scared, and they see escape as the only possible option for their children and themselves. You know who else escaped persecution because they didn’t want to fight? Some white folks who left England on a ship called The Mayflower. I know, right? Wusses just jumped on a damn ship and sailed away instead of fighting. Ugh.
The way we treat children will have a lasting impression on how they will perceive us. Again, back to my previous blog detailing our refugee journey. Being instinctively afraid of uniformed officers, I didn’t know what that man behind the counter would do to my parents or us. And yeah, 7-year-olds stress for their parents too. Remember that when you see those kids caged like animals by ICE and Homeland.
So, when that gentleman welcomed us, by the way I didn’t understand English at the time, but he smiled when he spoke to my dad, I knew we were safe. I breathed a sigh of relief. I’ll also never forget that brown bag he gave to each one of us. Inside was a bottle of water, banana, and Mars bar. Something minor to replenish us while they processed our papers.
We weren’t separated. My parents were with me the whole time. I felt safe. You know who separated us? The Ba’athist Syrian regime in the 1980s. I mean, they were trying to process our papers too but see, their method isn’t exactly progressive or kind. Hmm, gee golly I wonder what other country is doing that now.
That was my first impression of Canada and Canadian officials. As a result, everything inside of instinctively goes to defend this amazing country. Yeah even its shitty horrible winters. I can diss it but you sure as shit can’t because this is my country, my home. This place took us in, sheltered us, and provided us with what we needed.
These refugee kids fleeing from South America are also going to have one hell of an impression of the US. Mark my words. And it won’t be positive.
The way we interact with children will forever shape them. That goes for nations and officials at the highest ranks. Do not create the next generation of terrorists. Do not dehumanized them with terms we use for actual vermin and parasites. Create the next generation of people willing to fight to the death to protect the land that protected them.
I wish we did not have an International Refugee Day but that’s not the case. And since we do, take a moment to contemplate your role and your thinking regarding this issue, and to work towards hopefully abolishing this day. No one should have to be a refugee, but we must reach into our humanity when faced with dealing with those who are most vulnerable.
-A Former Child Refugee