When Choosing to Support Refugees

Fadilah
3 min readDec 30, 2022

The decision is very simple, actually.

It should be not hard to discover why one ought to hold a microphone for the silenced. But the world is full of hard statistics and hollow headlines, designed to detach human hearts from empathy, and societies are stacked in manufactured layers that mean that spectatorship is for the many, caring for the few, and action for the elite.

So let us analyse what it means to flee your home through lenses may permeate the barriers to the average mind:

Photo by Julie Ricard on Unsplash

All it takes is to look at the sky full of stars on a cold night, and realise that the sparkles of a frosty evening are better enjoyed indoors, safe and with family. The sky was not meant to be the only blanket that covers a person at night.

It takes a trip down memory lane, to recall the colour of your childhood. How you played in the streets and licked ice cream in the summer as no bombs fell, and how you walked home from school in the rain in winter as all your young fellow classmates remained living.

It takes a deeper thought when listening to the evening news. How the weather forecast spelling a warmer winter and more intense rains translates differently below the equator. A heatwave in one place means beaches and parks lively on a random day in April, in another, it is the final nail in the coffin of livestock, the straw that broke the malnourished camel’s back on land that can no longer be toiled.

When you travel, even when your flight is delayed, it takes a finger’s touch of the powerful piece of paper in your hand to remember your fortune. The passport, an indication of belonging, the key that affords you so much safety and ease.

It takes a look at your relationships. Could your love or friendship withstand war, separation, hunger, and the vulnerabilities of uncertainty and desperation?

If you are academically inclined, employ the discipline of your choosing.
Use maths when a village is razed in some back alley of the world where unimportant humans live and unmournable bodies are buried, think twice about what the number seventy-five means. Think of infinity to describe pain and to measure cruelty. Think exponentially when you consider the lives that are affected by any given action.
Use geography to understand a ‘seismic’ phenomenon, where the waves of grief and violence and unsafety create an ‘aftershock’ that sinks deep into minds and families. Use your comprehension skills to analyse the words ‘force’ and ‘fear’.
Philosophise the value and meaning of life, or socially analyse Maslow’s hierarchy of needs when every layer of the pyramid is erased.
Legally evaluate the concept of justice and consider human rights as a living, breathing concept for dying, forgotten people.

If you run out of words to analogise humanity, it takes a small moment of reflection. Could you last a day or a night or years with no home? In abject unsafety? In a world where your existence is irrelevant and inconvenient to the world at large? Where you are just a number that belongs nowhere? Would you choose this? Would anyone?

Please find below a list of books and films that I personally recommend. These are works of artistic storytelling that relate to the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers and/or the theme of displacement, settlement and integration:

Films
Adú (2020)
A Woman of No Importance (2021)
As Simple as Water (2021)

Books
The Ungrateful Refugee, Dina Nayeri (nonfiction)
In Order to Live, Yeonmi Park (autobiographical)
The Beekeeper of Aleppo, Christina Lefteri (fiction)
The Good Immigrant USA, Chimene Suleyman, Nikesh Shukla (a collection of personal essays)
First, They Erased Our Name, Habiburahman (autobiographical)

--

--

Fadilah

Muslim. Attempting to seek and express reflections of knowledge and truth.