Transgression of the right to live
A bomb goes off in downtown Baghdad leaving scores dead – That’s news. If it happens in our country, like in Jaipur, that’s a tragedy. And when 15,000 people are uprooted from their homes everyday (80% being women and children) and forced to live as nomads; no food, no shelter…no nothing! People left to degenerate and die everyday in bits & parts…ask yourself does it move you…move me?
Ajith Vijay Kumar A bomb goes off in downtown Baghdad leaving scores dead – That’s news. If it happens in our country, like in Jaipur, that’s a tragedy. And when 15,000 people are uprooted from their homes everyday (80% being women and children) and forced to live as nomads; no food, no shelter…no nothing! People left to degenerate and die everyday in bits & parts…ask yourself does it move you…move me?Welcome to a world where even the simplest joys of being alive are at most times out of bounds…welcome to Darfur, the very place where at least 200,000 people have been killed and two million forced out from their homes in the last five years. Imagine your life, as you know it, disappearing in an instant and you are forced to watch helplessly. Fear for your family’s safety precipitated by war, violence, hatred, massacre, and genocide force you to flee your home, your soil, your land. Shoving you onto a torturous journey spanning hours or even days in search of a shelter…somewhere where your child can sleep in peace. You are dependent on handouts of food; possibly have no clean drinking water or access to health care. Not a pretty picture, right? But the fact is that millions of people all across the world, in countries rich and poor have been living in such desolate and precarious conditions for years. These people are called refugees. This is their story. Darfur is now famous (Hopefully more aid is pouring in) thanks to celebrity activists like Don Cheadle, his friend George Clooney and Steven Spielberg as they step up and speak out in attempts to galvanize governments and ordinary people to try and help. Spielberg even went to the extent of pulling out of the Beijing Olympics committee accusing China of not doing enough to pressure Sudan to end the "continuing human suffering" in the region. But the misfortune of the world we live in is that Darfur is not alone, many more regions and countries are at the brink of a humanitarian crisis; that’s in one word CATASTROPHIC. According to the 2006 World Refugee survey conducted by the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), a staggering 33 million people worldwide are currently uprooted from their homes. USCRI says that Iraqis are currently the fastest growing refugee and IDP crisis group in the world with nearly 2 million people having fled the country, and 1.7 million internally displaced. In Sudan, more than 5.3 million people left their homes. And the on-going armed conflict in Colombia internally displaced 2.9 million people. These are however, just three in a long list of countries and regions impacted by this human tragedy. USCRI statistics show that there are 26 conflict-ridden nations, predominantly in Africa and the Middle East. Even in the best of conditions, humanitarian aid agencies are able to provide only the basics: food, clean drinking water, and elementary health care. But sometimes, local political climate ensures that weeks could go by before help arrives. All this happening in midst of a flickering hope of once gain revisiting those happy days when their children didn’t cry out of hunger, days that were bliss.Somalia, Chad, Algeria, Zimbabwe; the dark continent and even large swathes of the so called “peaceful” world are full of such hell holes where entire generations are being lost in the unending search for a loaf of bread, a pitcher of water – but who cares? Do you…do I? I discern that misery is subjective, what can move me to edges may not mean anything to you. That’s human fallacy at its best…something we all are good at. What doesn’t affect me directly is not happening at all; that’s the motto for most of us. On World Refugee Day let us not forget that we are lucky.She calls out to the man on the street Sir, can you help me? It’s cold and I’ve nowhere to sleep, Is there somewhere you can tell me? He walks on, doesn’t look back He pretends he can’t hear her Starts to whistle as he crosses the street Seems embarrassed to be there Oh think twice, it’s another day for You and me in paradise Oh think twice, it’s just another day for you, You and me in paradise Just another day in paradise… * Single from Phil Collins` album, But Seriously (1989)