Monday, November 10, 2008

Bloggers Unite to Reunite Families

My hubby recently cleared some bushes from around two young naseberry trees (sapodilla to you Eastern Caribbeaners). I went down the hill to look at them yesterday. They are a little taller than I am. I had planted them maybe seven or eight years ago. I had helped to pack the hundreds of rocks that hug the contours of the hillside, a soil conservation measure that has faithfully done its job. I felt a sense of pride and achievement. I felt like I belong here.
Unfortunately, there are 21.1 million people who are deprived of this feeling, displaced from their country of birth and right at this moment, are alienated from this very basic human right, the right to belong to one's own country. (This figure does not include internally displaced peoples like those in Sudan and Iraq). Look: article 13 of the Declaration of Human Rights states that "everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country." Article 15 states that "everyone has the right to a nationality".
But wars, violence, intolerance and other things that we get wrong have led to the need for the word "refugee".
Article 1 of the Geneva Convention as amended by the 1967 Protocol provides the definition of a refugee:



"A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it."

Displacement means many things, none of them good. It must mean you are separated from family. It must mean you are a second class citizen if you're lucky to find assylum some place. It probably means that you are hungry, you haven't had a bath for days, you're exposed to cholera. It probably means that you have walked miles, and have many more miles ahead. Right now you might be frightened, desperate, helpless, hopeless.


Today, more than 10,000 bloggers unite to draw attention to this very important issue. If you're a blogger and want to spread the word, do join in. You can help to unite families. Other bloggers have said their piece here and here and here. And you can inform yourself about refugees, assylum seekers and displaced peoples in Kosovo, Iraq, Darfur, Afghanistan here.



14 comments:

Leo said...

save our world =)

earthlingorgeous said...

It's sad really that people are displaced in their own country and the situation all over the world is not an exemption.

I wonder how can we really really stop this?

Earth

TheGRITS.com said...

Excellent post!

AustinTXGal said...

Thanks for the excellent article and your gift of story. We all need to remember that there are people suffering and in need of help.

czecho said...

Thanks for your post, it really puts into perspective how lucky most of are, and how much we could do to end wars and strife in the world simply by being kind to one another. Let's hope that we keep the plight of the world's refugees in our thoughts, not just one day a year but always.

Ruthibelle said...

Each one reach one... that's how we start to stop this.

But that takes so long...

My heart literally aches for the people hurting in this world (I mean a real, physical, tangible pang goes through me when I hear stories like these). It's why I'm out to change the world. I can't stand to see injustice and suffering.

But see here, one small Jamaican girl preaching possibilities... if Barack could, so can I... so can we :)

Man, if only I had superpowers!

Dwayne said...

Thanks for standing up for a good cause, Changing this world is going to take the help of everyone.

Abeni said...

Let's begin by changing one person's life at a time.Sometimes, it really doesn't take a whole lot to m ake a difference to others. I guess the trick is seeing what can be done

Jacqueline Smith said...

Thanks every one.

Abeni, we have our own situation here in the Caribbean with the Haitians. We have mixed reactions to them when they land on our shores here in Jamaica. The government generally observes international conventions, undertaking whatever process is required to confirm if the boatloads of them actually face persecution at home. In the mean time some of us embrace them and others of us resent their coming to further burden our already inadequate resources. It's tough one to think about.

Fly Girl said...

Wonderful post Jackie. It's easy to forget how essential a feeling of home and belonging is. I've seen the resentment towards Haitians when I was in the Dominican Republic. Even though they live on the other half of the island, Dominicans make it very hard for them to cross the border. Hopefully, people will start opening up more as they realize how we are all connected.

Jacqueline Smith said...

Hey Fly Girl, You have a mean article over there yourself. Good job!
Sometime ago I lived on another island where hundreds of Haitians had settled. At the time I didn't think about their status, to what extent they'd been granted assylum, were being processed or were there illegaly. But I did observe that by and large they lived in a kind of ghetto marked off from the rest of the society.

It's one thing for neighbouring territories to lend support, but it's another to find solutions to the political crises that displace peoples, because the other side of the refugee story is that somebody has to accommodate them. And "for how long?" is not an unreasonable question for the host country to ask.

Hicham said...

If only people can plant 'love' and 'understanding' among themselves, we would have never seen such horrible state of refugees.

Stunner said...

A very good post about this troubling issue in our world.

Beth said...

wow...my heart aches for these people too. I know how I feel when I've been somewhere, and I finally make it back "home"....ahhhhh. and so many people don't know what that feels like.

thanks for sharing this with me and for visiting my blog.