Call Me a Dreamer If You Will…
What does a peaceful world mean to you? To me, it is a world where everyone lives freely, without fearing for their safety. It is a world where I do not have to wake up or sleep to the news that a conflict has forced people to flee from their homes.
Passionate about the plea of refugees, I have always wondered what it would feel like to be one. Having been born and raised in a small town close to the Kenya-Tanzania border, each time the thought of becoming a refugee comes to mind, I always think of Tanzania as my haven. Although somewhat of a relief, the thought of fleeing my home to a foreign land always leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I cannot wrap my head around the idea of not being able to walk down to my favorite market stall, say hello to my neighbor whom I have known my whole life, go to my church on Sunday, or enjoy the rough, dusty roads I have come to love. The thought of forcefully leaving that life behind always makes me sad, and I can only try and imagine how the refugees feel having lived through that.
With conflicts happening in many countries around the world, many people have been forced to flee their homes, living their lives as refugees. As once stated by Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, and author of the book A Hope More Powerful than the Sea, I share in her sentiments that all refugees want to go home someday—even when the thought seems impossible. This is mainly because they never left their homes voluntarily, but rather were forced to. They want to go home for many reasons; the community, friends, atmosphere, food, and memories.
A hope more powerful than the Sea is a narration of the story of Doaa Al Zamel, a Syrian refugee who was among 11 survivors of a rammed migrant boat that saw the death of 500 people. Doaa together with her family fled from Syria after the civil war broke out in 2011, settling in Egypt where conditions became hard for her, forcing her to take the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean Sea to seek a better life in Europe, through a smugglers boat. The story of Doaa is only but an example of the many lives disrupted by the scourge of war around the world, forcing them to flee their homes.
In pursuit of this better place to call home, many lose their lives, as the journey, often, is usually riddled with hardships. As they try to seek ‘normalcy’ in their new home, many face rejection and persecution from natives of the host countries due to several factors, but mainly because they view them as intruders.
With that in mind, I always ask myself what I would do to prevent the refugee crisis, and every time, it is the same answer. Call me a dreamer if you will, but I would love to sit down with all world leaders and ask of them to be champions of peace in their countries and serve the people, as it is their responsibility. This is because, although the causes of the refugee crisis in the world are many, conflict has been the leading factor in recent years. I would also urge them to make their countries hospitable to refugees making them safe havens for them.
It is my hope that as citizens of the world, we will work together to promote peace in our different capacities and work towards ending the refugee crisis in the world, ensuring that no single person is forced to flee their home.
– Ms. Tracy Naeku