If you live in a developed country that is free of war, famine, or economic hardship, then you should feel blessed. There was an article in the NY Times yesterday morning on refugees world wide and how that number as of 2014 has reached almost 60 million people. The most common reason for a person either leaving their country or re-locating within it has been an either internal or external conflict or war. The civil war in Syria alone has contributed almost 11 million refugees to that number, about half internal and half leaving. It is disheartening to hear these news reports about how hard people in other countries have it. I would even like to say that I can empathize with them, but to be honest, empathy is a hard thing to come by when there is no frame of reference in which to empathize. I have never even come close to feeling what a refugee must feel like on a daily basis and stemming from that, it is hard to place myself in their shoes and imagine a life as a refugee. I can try, but in the end, it is next to impossible. This is not to say that I don't feel for these people, their condition is just so far removed from anything that I have dealt with in my life that it is hard for me to come to know their situation. It is a horrible situation, being a refugee and living in a camp that has no guaranteed food supply, conditions are often sub par, and no work or means of supporting or relocating. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, and yet it is happening to more and more people across the world.
The hardest hit areas are Africa, the Middle East, and Southern Asia including the Ukraine. Through famine and conflict, some of which haven't been resolved for years (Somalia), people are being forced to relocate to save their lives and the lives of their families. The conflicts and famines that are occurring are placing destination countries for refugees in a difficult situation as well. How many people can relocate and still be supported by another country. And yet, people in power perpetuate these conflicts, sometimes with no end in sight, and without a second thought about the lives affected. There seems to be a never ending supply of war and even less thought about recovery and helping refugees return to normal lives, if they ever can.
Here in the United States, we are lucky to be largely removed from any large conflicts (except our own bickering amongst ourselves and the conflicts overseas into which we inject ourselves). Yet for all those overseas conflicts in which we help to create situations that create refugees, the impact on our daily lives is nil. We take in some refugees, but not nearly as many as other countries that happen to neighbor countries in conflict. I would say that many people take for granted that they live in a country where they have the freedom to wake up every morning in their own bed, in their own home, and can go make a pot of coffee and breakfast. Something as simple as that is barely a thought in a refugees mind. It might be a dream of theirs, but depending on how long they have been a refugee for, that dream might have faded as their hopes of their lives ever returning to normal as faded. We can complain about all the little things that go wrong in our lives, but there are almost 60 million people who definitely have it worst than we do, who have been forced to move one way or another, away from their homes and sometimes their families. We should never take for granted that which we have.