Bonds Beyond Borders: Refugees Welcome

A wall that illustrates the text "Everyone is Welcome"

The twists of fate, bullets, and tyrants. Those are not all that define an individual.

Anger sweeps me, and frustration is all I feel when observing the deafening silence that surrounds the plights of the people who face such atrocities and are forced to carve a new path to their future; that too, involuntarily. Their lives are crippled by draconian policies of destitution, detention, the threats of deportation, not being able to work, not being accepted as individuals, but rather as numbers, not having a home and not be entitled to healthcare. The hostility created around those who may be considered as ‘minorities’ has made it acceptable to treat those who are most vulnerable inhumanly. Furthered by the closely picked out media publications, the narrative of them being hopeless, dangerous, extraneous or merely figures, statistics, or stories that need attentive care removes all possible hopes of making people understand the gravity of reality.

This is why the importance of being firmer in the stance of protecting and accepting refugees and asylum seekers and standing against the wave of hate is noticed and should be noticed even more. We have to stand for the rights of those who are excluded and marginalized from society, and shout louder “Welcome.”

These are people, not just numbers, but valuable people who can contribute to livelihoods for themselves, their families, and for us. They share their experiences, giving us bigger, more visual, and better pictures of what it is like to seek safety. We sit, and we listen patiently. But it’s on us to do more than that.

Bonds beyond borders are created through the simple mind of kindness, generosity, understanding, and acceptance. Fundamentally, this is a plea for kindness. Kindness – it’s political power and it should be at the core of everything we do. The pandemic has not only revealed the severe need to look for the truth and veracity of situations around us, but it demonstrated that so many of us have been crying out for more kindness and compassion in our private and public lives, in politics within and across our societies, in the bonds that create beyond borders.

Where the same dominant culture that disparages kindness also valorizes the self-esteem that threatens our very survival, everything has to change. Kindness may not be the sole solution to every minuscule or great problem, but it builds the very foundation for a hopeful future. Faced with global crises on so many fronts we must take it seriously — and, as a society, extend it much farther than we ever have before. Just as each person suffering the virus deserves our unflinching support, so too do the men, women and children still punished by our formed cruelty asylum seekers and refugees. Extending our hands, putting our best foot forward, advocacy, awareness and truly working towards change is the least we can do. But before all, it's just kindness.