There is a lot of ground I wish to cover in the next couple posts but I should start by apologizing that it has been a two weeks since I last wrote on this blog. A large portion of this month has seen me battling a serious tooth ailment. I know that sounds inconsequential except it really laid me up for two weeks around Labor Day, causing a postponement on filming we had scheduled. The dentist thought he had me fixed up but then a couple nights ago my jaw swelled up like I’d been in the ring with Joe Frazier. Now I am minus one tooth and on the mend with antibiotics and painkillers.
The experience does lend material for my post. Last week saw the Pope in America and I was impressed with his stress for compassion toward the refugees. He implored everyone to see the human side of the problem and not be daunted by the numbers.
The human side. I have had people say to me, I wouldn’t live the way or do what those people (the refugees) are doing. Really? People have the luxury to say that because they know in their current lifestyle, they won’t be put in that position. But can they say this will always be the case?
Who is to say that a natural disaster or unforeseen geo-political event won’t destroy our comfortable and safe lifestyle? Recently, somewhere between his mansion and hotel suites, Mike Huckabee said refugees were only coming for the cable television. This was one of the dumbest utterances I’ve ever heard a politician make and that is really saying something. Clearly, Huckabee has never seen the mothers in the camps pleading with strangers to take their kids to safety in Europe. Mothers volunteering to return to a dire fate in Syria if only they knew their kids were safe and had a future. Does anyone put their family at risk for drowning in the ocean for the sake of cable television? I don’t think so.
If a person doesn’t understand the hardship of being a refugee then I suggest they look back into their own family tree. Somewhere, at some point in history, almost all our ancestors were a refugee. Maybe they were fleeing a war. Many escaped religious persecution. I point to the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre as to how that can spur a suddenly flight. Chances are our ancestors survived the journey, the hardships, the starvation, because along the line a stranger lent a helping hand. A stranger saw the human side.
That brings me full circle to my tooth emergency. If I had been a refugee, odds are there would not have been any treatment for me. I wouldn’t have a dentist to rush me into his office for emergency treatment. There would be no antibiotics for the infection which would then spread through my body. Only a stranger’s kindness would be my saving grace. I know how lucky I really am – and remind myself of that every time I glance at the bill. I’ll recoup from the physical and financial discomfort. Across the world, there is a refugee not so fortunate. So, before you dismiss the refugees as a bunch of slackers wanting to move into your neighborhood so they can watch ESPN, take the Pope’s advice and glance upon them as peers. Realize someday you or your family might be in that position, how would you want a fellow human to react then?
Visit The Refugee Film and contribute to the making of the documentary.