From our relative late summer dustbowl here in western Oregon, with fires raging nearby, and smoke laden air all around, we watch the sopping wet, saturated tragedy unfold in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, down south. I’m playing it lazy this time around and reusing a post I posted last night on Facebook, after watching people gather up whatever shards of their former existence they could find, or carry, and start the long and arduous journey that is the rest of their lives. The post is still relevant, as in Washington DC, members of Congress are already bickering. Apologies if you have read it before:
“My heart and soul goes out to those affected by Harvey. When I look at photos of people wading through the water with whatever they can carry, hoisted on their shoulders, I can’t help but think that the storm created something akin to a refugee crisis of our own. It is my hope that we will take a collective step back and realize the similarities with the plight of *other* refugees around our world, and see them for what they actually are; people fleeing a situation imposed on them by forces they cannot control.
Which, of course, brings to mind all those other refugees, and the way their approach has made citizens the world over feel threatened to the point of closing themselves off, and the refugees out. It will be really interesting to see if the fact that they flee from a place *within* the mental and legislative construct that is our borders will make a difference in how we treat them. I’m guessing it will. At the same time, I also hope that this tragedy will open certain minds to the idea that the legitimacy of refugee-ness isn’t predicated on simple concepts like whom/from where/to where. It basically just means regular people like you and me, afflicted by some capricious misfortune that turned life as they knew it upside down, and that desperately need our help. In whatever form – be it war, famine, weather, or disease – Fate does not discriminate. So – the question remains – why do we?”