News October 2015

Payback – Part Two

While we continue our journey back through history and the reasons for mass exodus have you found an answer to ‘where would you go?’ What makes you feel safe? What lengths would you go to to ensure your family’s safety? Your children’s freedom?

By the 1920’s the British Invasion had caused the death of at least a quarter of a million of black Australians. Genocide on a massive scale. This fact remains suppressed, except in the living memory of those who survived. This people did not want to leave their homeland.

– Nakba, the 1948 Palestinian exodus, 80 % of Arabs left the land that was to become Israel.

– Idi Amin’s Order, 1972, where 90.000 Asians were expelled because they were declared state enemy. Many of them had lived in the country for more than 100 years. Around 50.000 came to the UK.

– Afghanistan had a refugee ‘crisis’ 1979, sending as many as 5 million fleeing. The largest group ended up in Pakistan. Since 1990 the number of refugees each year has not fallen below 2 million.

– Then there were the Balkan conflicts, 1992-95, which forced 2,7 million to flee, making it the largest displacement of people in Europe since the second world war.

– In the Great Lakes Refugee Crisis 1994 in Rwanda, there was a mass exodus of more than 2 million people from the country to neighbouring countries.

– The War in Darfur, Sudan, 2003, brought with it the mass displacement of more than 2,5 million people.

– In the Iraq war, 2003, 4,7 million Iraqis have left their homes, more than 2 million left the country all together.

– The Colombian conflict, starting in the 60’s; almost 4 million have left their homes. Only 400.000 of these have been able to leave the country.

– The Syrian civil war, 2011, is the latest chapter in history’s biggest refugee movements, but it is unlikely to be the last. So far it has resulted in close to 2 million people fleeing the country and about twice that number uprooted and homeless within Syria itself. (Ref: Mona Chalabi, The Guardian)

None of these people planned to leave their home. But they would rather leave what is known to them, leave their homeland behind, and have their children grow up with a future. Again we face a whole nation fleeing their country. Uprooted, ousted and homeless people, looking for a new life in safety. Foreign environment, different culture, unfamiliar traditions. Displacement of a different kind.

Some of us will have parents or grandparents who’ve had to leave their country and find a new home, which in return gave us the privilege to grow up in safety and call the new place home. Can you imagine having to leave your country? Gather your children and find safety with strangers? And I ask again: Where would you go?

‘A lasting solution, the possibility to begin a new life, is the only dignified solution for the refugee himself.’ (Poul Hartling, Danish Diplomat and Politician, 1914-2000)


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