True Story

Close your eyes because I’m going to lie to you.
           — Bulgarian saying.

Across Europe, Tens of Thousands Rally to Welcome Refugees

Well, that’s not a lie actually. (But keep your eyes closed!) It happened in Dublin, last month.

Refugees Welcome

Marchers in Dublin unfurl the welcome banner for people seeking sanctuary for war and violence in the Middle East. (Photo: Sam Boal/The Journal)

Here’s the story if you want to read it. People can be so generous and compassionate. Here’s another picture.

(Hey! Your eyes… I’m not gonna tell you again!) Some borders are not so open, reminding us of some current issues in our own country. What do we do about migrants? Refugees? (Now close your ears too. This is too close to home!) Illegal immigrants? Terrorist infiltrators? All foreigners are… are…  foreign! Alien! Dangerous! Seal the borders! Stop them all! 1

These are hot-button topics, always. With all the happy-talk about the actions of Germany, Austria, Ireland and other countries welcoming refugees, and the counter-talk about terrorist invasions and sharia-law fanatics taking over, what do you think?

According to François Crépeau, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, “Talking about ‘flows,’ ‘marauders,’ and ‘swarms’ is an unsubtle way of dismissing the legitimacy of the asylum-seekers and migrants’ claim to human rights, by creating images linking them to toxic waste or natural disasters. We are talking about men, women, children and even babies, who have faced traumatic experiences. These are people just like you and me, and none of us have the moral high ground to say that we would never do the same if we were in their shoes.”

What do you say to that? To borrow a popular expression. I got nothin’. Here are some more pictures, with an Eastern and Central European perspective. Crossing the Balkans on foot

A good friend of mine posted this on his Facebook wall, posing what many believe to be an important question. how stupid are weHe is a good friend, I reiterate, of honest and amiable nature, educated and intelligent and loves God and his family and his country, and I must admit I don’t have an answer to the question. We have all seen things like this though, haven’t we? Or thought them? What is the right response? Are our Western ideals of freedom, liberty and democracy strong enough to survive (at the very least, putting it mildly) a changing demographic? I’d be lying (You peeked!) if I said I don’t think both sides of the argument overstate their cases, drawing on emotions and limited information. The emotions? Sympathy on the one hand, and fear on the other. Both are powerful motivators in our lives. The limited information? Increasingly, in the torrent of media blasting us daily, the information we hear what we choose to hear. The limitations are accordingly self-chosen.

Your eyes… remember they’re supposed to be closed…

 

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
           — Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus

OK, open now.

_________________________

  1. Native American saying (in retrospect).

13 thoughts on “True Story

  1. Media……What can I say, except I don’t watch TV, anymore, I don’t listen to the radio news. Now, here is the disclaimer, when I’m in hubby’s car and he has Colorado Public Radio, on. I “have” to listen. I have asked him to turn it off, when the subjects are of graphic nature. (We had an argument over this…) If I want to know what’s going on, I read my news page of my computer, when I turn it on…..But that is just a scan with my eyes, over the page. Every word they put on that screen is there to play on our emotions. I choose not to read it. Just tell me the facts. I really can’t do anything about it, so I feel I don’t have to give any energy to it. Does this make me not a nice person? I reserve my energy for those close to me. I donate money and items, to those in need here, where I live. At church, if they are collecting money or items for the local schools, the reservation we assist, or for those in need here in the Denver area. These are the people and places I can help make a difference in and with. So, this is where my energy is placed. Bruce, I understand Bulgaria is still close to your heart, it must be very difficult to be so far removed. I too have feelings for certain places, far from home, that are having these “challenges”. But there is really nothing I can do for them. So, I must do for those I can do for, close to home. I think I’m rambling, so I’ll close. Just stating how I feel about this.

    • To address your question first, no, not reading a news article because you cannot do anything about it or you do not have the energy to give to it does not make you not a nice person. Not at all. It makes me especially grateful that you took the time to read my thoughts on the matter, and even more that you responded. The good you do reflects all around you like a glow and lights up wherever you are. That’s more than nice, my friend.

  2. Provocative, Bruce! My son always tells me (I’m a mother, remember) that a life lived in fear is a life half lived. I have to remind myself of that daily with the news in the world!

  3. Okay, I’ll admit it, Bruce. Before I read your article I was 100% bitter about how people want to welcome the Syrian refugees but when Hitler was annihilating the Jews there were very few places the Jews could turn. Six million. Emma Lazarus, opened my heart around 12% and you 13%. I have a long way to go! I don’t know if I’ll get there. I feel sorry for the refugees. But I’m mad as hell at the Europeans who helped Hitler round up the Jews, and now they want to be helpful, kind, compassionate and generous to refugees. It’s jealousy and hurt that I feel.
    Judi Turner

    • I understand your anger, Judi, but remember many of those European countries fell to Hitler themselves. Once that happened they were powerless to help others.

    • Dear Judi, I can never even imagine what it must feel like to have known people in your family who endured the horror of the concentration camps, or to have been denied the knowing, let alone the company and love, of those who died in that way. In the light of history, though, Bulgaria at least was different. Have I told you the story? Here is an account of something Bulgarians did during those times, which is not widely known. How Bulgaria saved its Jews from Nazi concentration camps The most important words in that article, in my mind, are where it says “people spoke up.”

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