It is time for the era of understanding
How do you view refugees as immigrants?
Do you see a group of people who will spend their life on welfare, a burden to the nation?
Do you see a group of people who have risked everything for their basic human right and will work hard in their new home?
If you live in Australia, you could easily be excused of seeing refugees as a burden, given the never ending stream negative stereotyping.
Which is why it may surprise you to learn that a recent study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that “humanitarian migrants displayed greater entrepreneurial qualities and reported a higher proportion of income from their own unincorporated businesses.”
This desire to contribute is something that we have seen from refugees all around the world, with a report from the OECD finding that“migrants accounted for 47% of the increase in the workforce in the United States and 70% in Europe over the past ten years.”
Given the facts, you would think that those fleeing from the terrors of their homelands would be welcomed with open arms to nations such as ours.
Sadly, we know that given the current political climate around the world in regards to refugees that such a positive reception will not await these desperate people fleeing war, famine and persecution.
The evidence is there for all to see within Australia, as we continue to detain desperate people endlessly and without hope in offshoring camps through the pacific.
Such demonisation of ‘refugees’ is not limited to Australia, with thousands of children ripped from the arms of parents caught crossing the border in the USA, whilst European nations begin passing ‘zero refugee’ and ‘forced assimilation’ laws, with Poland even making it illegal to advocate on a refugees behalf.
The world has not treated those in need of support so poorly since WW2. This is the very reason why we have an international refugee convention, created in response to the world turning its back on those in the most desperate of need and designed to ensure that we would never allow such atrocity to be repeated.
Yet here we sit in 2018, a period in the world’s history where we have access to everything that is happening at the push of a button, yet instead of being driven to help our fellow global citizens in trouble, we are instead looking to close the door on them.
As a refugee, one who made the perilous journey through multiple unstable nations and then across the Adriatic to safety, I do find myself pondering why there is this hatred for people who bring so much positivity to nations.
The simple answer for me is, despite living in an age of information, is a lack of understanding. Without understanding, fear and prejudice thrive, we close our ears and stop listening.
When we listen, without mentally formulating our own response, we are able not only to understand, but empathise. When we empathise, we become in sync and inseparable as a nation and as people.
This not only opens the door to peace, harmony and opportunity, it closes the door on misunderstandings and cuts off separation, hate and violence, allowing us to walk together in solidarity and peace.
So let’s start a revolution today and create real change by committing to the next time you meet someone new, regardless of race, colour or creed, that you take the time to understand them, discovering who they are, without pre conceived judgment.
Who knows, it might just change your mind, your heart and your life and that is the best place for a revolution to begin!