Sometimes the horrors in the news are so overwhelming that I’m left speechless. This is how I feel now—have been feeling for months—about what is being called Europe’s “refugee crisis.”
Refugee crisis. Encapsulating massive human suffering in those two simple words strikes me as demeaning: a slap in the face of every refugee from the endless wars in Syria, Afghanistan, Libya….
I imagine a woman who was evicted from the French refugee camp at Calais, sleepless with worry over the sick toddler she holds in her arms. I imagine her staring at me in numb despair when I read her a news story about “the refugee crisis.” I hear her scream back, “I’m not your crisis; I’m a person, a person who is pouring all my energy and money into trying to save my family from the brutalities of war and the indignities of being classified as a low-class refugee.”
I have no answer for her. I share her pain—to the extent that it’s possible for a comfortable U.S. citizen to share the pain of a despairing country-less person. But I don’t have the words to express my sharing. [Read more…]