What do your children pass on the streets on the way home from school?
What would you be prepared to do to save them?
So today I want to honor the victims of war in general. Those who lost family members in the Holocaust, those who lost fathers or grandfathers who fought in the war, and you who will be reading this note and nodding your head. We too are victims. We too suffered the effects of the long-term war.
My father, and uncles participated in World War II. Although I’m Canadian and was not a child of this era, my Dad was in the Royal Canadian Army Signal Corps and was stationed in England.
My father never talked about the war. I remember watching programs on TV with the family years later. But I never really knew what he did. Was he in combat? Was he in an office behind listening devices. Did Dad code, or decode messages? Dad was a recognized Math genius. He entered competitions every year in the military. And my father kept a workroom in every house we lived in, to use his ham radio and talk with people from all over the world. So it’s possible he was involved in things he could never talk about. Or saw horrible deaths that he carried in his mind and heart his whole life. I will never know.
My Dad left a special legacy for us, the children of a parent who fought in the war. His legacy was anger and pain. He drank excessively. He fought with my mother. Although I never saw physical abuse–or maybe I blocked it–my younger sis says she saw marks on my mother’s neck.
I remember Dad drank excessively and by dinner time he was impossible to talk to. We fought all the time. My family dinner memories were of me leaving the table crying. I don’t think I ever finished a meal in my teenage years. My sis remembers only that I was the one who spoke up, so she didn’t have to!
My childhood was not pleasant. I suppose at the time, I didn’t know the difference. It was my reality. But with early blanked memories, I know there were things that happened that my mind has decided I don’t need to remember. And I’m good with that. I was one of the lucky ones. I suffered no long-term effects of that period on my life unless you count several divorces, and the inability to form deep, trusting relationships. I’m sure I’m not alone. Unfortunately, to this day, the men and women who go to war bring it home with them. It’s not their fault, I understand that. And many will get help and life will go on.
I implore legislators around the world, governments, who merely sit in the gilded cages and sign documents allowing militaries to destroy economies and lives, to think, just stop and think, about the ravages of war. Think about our own militaries–my nephew who served several times in Kabul, my SEAL friends who’ve lost their lives and those of their friends. Think about the long-term effect of war zones and war, before you routinely decide to blockade a region, turn off food supplies or close your borders!
Mexico, shame on you for separating men from their families and only permitting women and children to come through on Caravan from war-torn Central America. You must take full responsibility for the kidnapping of 100 women and children this past week. It doesn’t matter that its drug cartels or human trafficking rings, you alone bear the responsibility for leaving them unprotected.
And the US, I have no words for the leadership of the USA. The world once believed it was the greatest nation in the world. Everyone wanted to go to America. And now the best and the brightest from around the world are afraid to join your working ranks. Some refugees have no choice but to flee or die. But others have choices, and they are choosing to seek great job opportunities in other nations, places where they are wanted. If you’re not careful, all that will be left in the USA is the next generation of racists.
So take this moment to put yourself in the shoes or no shoes of the people who are fleeing the countries that in many ways first-world-countries have helped to destroy. Think about bearing responsibility for our actions in all things in life. And show compassion and love today not just for those who have died, but the current victims of war.
A refugee, generally speaking, is a displaced person who has been forced to cross national boundaries and who cannot return home safely. Such a person may be called an asylum seeker until granted refugee status by the contracting state or the UNHCR if they formally make a claim for asylum. UNHRC
If you are curious about a first-hand fictional story of a refugee: mother and child, fleeing Syria read Lynda Filler’s DISPLACED