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In my Perfect World – The Refugee Crisis

October 31, 2009

A Palestinian boy wearing a military uniform & holding a toy gun in the Al-Amari refugee camp. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

In my perfect world, there are no boundaries; no countries, no states, no cities
I own every inch of mother earth like all the other creatures of God
I travel where I want; visa is not a word in my dictionary
I share my religion with the rest of the world; my religion is respect
I fight no wars; there are no soldiers, no armies
I try to feed before I eat
I try to share my happiness before I feel
I try to give before I get
I try to forgive before I forget
I try to smile before I frown
I believe in hope and no despair
In my perfect world, I build love from hate

–Maria Khan

No trees, no games, no birthday parties –that is the story of many generations of Palestinians who have grown up living in refugee camps. Skies lit with fires and dreams washed away with nightmares, where every night is a battle fighting for the day. With the day awakens the fear of yet another night and the story continues until one night their souls break free from their body.

As I was planning my trick-or-treating celebrations, I stumbled upon a video of a Palestinian girl describing her innocent frustrations. What a beautiful age and what a waste of a childhood, observe this young girl, as she expresses her little desires;

“Why did they bring my things…break my toys…the food we eat smells like gas…we don’t want to get rid of our clothes even though they smell like gas…only if you’d smell our clothing…let the Israelis come and smell our clothes and see our homes…whenever we to take a shower the smell of gas suffocates us to death!”

Palestinian Children Refugees Speak

What is a refugee problem? It is when homes are broken and civilians are displaced.

How about an alternative definition; a refugee problem is when orphans are born and childhoods are burnt down.

With the current refugee crisis in Pakistan intensifying by seconds, NGOs and world leaders will once again gather to make resolutions. Yet, resolutions should not be made to dissolve the current crisis, but rather to face the ugly truth –one that requires every nation to practice peace, one that demands every wealthy nation to open its doors and break away the social, racial and religious inequalities.

Until immigration regulations hinder free movement of people, the refugee problem cannot be dissolved. How can a blue, red or green passport determine your eligibility to live somewhere, to travel from one end of the world to another or even your right to work? What is deportation and why does it exist? If only these man-made barricades can be eased, the word refugee could be erased from the present history.

Peace is commonly understood as the absence of hostility, or the existence of healthy or newly-healed interpersonal or international relationships, safety in matters of social or economic welfare, the acknowledgment of equality and fairness in political relationships and, in world matters, peacetime; a state of being absent of any war or conflict (Wikipedia)

Yet, there is no safety; from pedophilia to terrorism, there is no equality; from social inequalities between the rich and the poor to racial discrimination between the black, brown and the white, and there is a deafening state of world conflict.

Until we realize the basic definition of peace, how can we implement peaceful measures that are in clear conflict with its basic meaning? Fighting wars for peaceful measures is like going to a doctor and asking him to break your leg.

Until the seeds of war and inequality are sown, refugees will be born –in my perfect world that is the refugee problem.

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