Well things have settled down at the Brackett house after that fabulous weekend with the book signing and the honorary degree, and I have finally been able to think about things other than myself. Yesterday was World Refugee Day and Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the UN said in a statement paying homage to refugees throughout the world, " Refugees are people like anyone else, like you and me..." While I understand and agree with his sentiments on refugees, I would not put it that way. By virtue of their terrible experiences refugees are not like other people, and certainly not like us in this country.
I have thought a lot about refugees over the years and I have even tried to imagine myself as a refugee. I've tried to imagine what kind of abuse, hunger or fear would force me to leave my comfortable home in Hamilton. I've tried to imagine how I would choose if I could take with me only what I could carry on my back.
What would it be like to live in a place where I did not speak the language. Well that's not so hard. I've visited France, and Germany and of course Thailand and Bangladesh and I speak none of those languages, but unlike a refugee, I've never been dependent upon any of those people for my livelihood. I've tried to imagine leaving my friends in Hamilton, adopting new and strange customs, abandoning the familiar and the treasured forever. Some refugees even have to leave their parents who are too old to endure the hardship of travel. I've tried to imagine walking and hiding in the jungle in fear of being killed by an enemy. I've tried to imagine living in a foreign country lonely, yearning for home and dependent on the kindness of others for my life.
Then I leave my reflections and count my blessings for being born a citizen of this wonderful country.