I’m glad that ingenious users of the net are doing something to spread awareness about certain glaring issues that the world needs to divert more of its attention to.
Humans of New York are starting on a series of photographs that will be featuring 12 different refugee families from Syria. These victims of war are calling the United States their new home after successfully gaining approval to resettle in different American cities.
These are people who have gone through a painstaking journey of decades, to fight for personal safety and to protect their loved ones. These basic privileges are something that people in developed nations (like you and me, since gaining Internet access is probably an action deemed to be more than a blessing to many) constantly dismiss as rightful, and unimportant.
Just a minute ago I was scrolling through Facebook, and came across a few posts from Humans of NY. What I saw instantaneously livened my spirits up:
I have to say that it came as a pleasant surprise to me, from the way these refugees see the US in the light of innocence. Often people would view the US as a political superpower emblematic of hypocrisy and of tyranny, but putting aside the shit things that it has done… I’m just glad to find out that it can be seen as a “heaven” from these contrasting perceptions, where hope can be derived from simplicity. At the sight of the photographs of smiling individuals, it’s hard to believe that they are the same people who have been through countless encounters with militants ruthlessly tormenting the entire region of Islamic states.
We find out that these are people who love music too.
We find out that their love stories are so much more exciting than ours.
They’re people who had similar lives like us, studying in colleges and are pursuing incredible degrees (such as, wow, French Philosophy?).
Which is why people believe that we should let refugees thrive, not just plainly survive. A legend could easily be discovered amongst the helpless and the seemingly hopeless.
Well, I know that saying is always easy, and I have no right to support the stance that we should allow war victims to seek refuge in major cities to enable them to attain better qualities of life.
I’m living in Singapore, a melting pot full of immigrants from literally all around the globe. I may have been a patient of xenophobia myself, due to several instances where I felt that my Chinese neighbours residing upstairs are uncouth and overly loud and won’t ever dry their clothes before hanging them out their windows… But these are matters of triviality that are tolerable. I have tons of friends from mainland China and India, and we clique perfectly together. But besides immigrants, I have never seen, let alone met, a refugee in my life.
The fear of outsiders ‘infesting’ one’s country can never be ameliorated with ease and or with much diplomacy. Well we are all aware that just like any population displacement processes recorded in history, plenty of outrage and bloodshed erupted. But based on my observations through rose-tinted glasses, I’m glad to see that USA and European nations are taking the first step to welcome refugees with open arms. The bold opening of borders (France’s gutsy move that was viewed by many – but not me – as the most ridiculous move ever taken by any nation), pumping of money into construction of more shelters, facilitating resettlement programmes, and so on.
But truth be told, my post tonight serves as a dedication to the rare gems I came across on the Humans of NY page, amidst the flurry of comments:
I know we live in the era of ‘slacktivism’ where often the clicking of a button and the typing of a few sentences are mistaken as efforts towards making an impact.
But sometimes, words can be weapons as well. They are truly powerful and empowering, and so are the people of social media. I’m just thankful that my faith in humanity is restored by simple words from people (who actually live in cities affected by the refugee crisis), finally after a long time.
Photo Credits: Humans of New York, Facebook.
Check out the Humans of New York page right here, if you haven’t already.