A newfound joy has me hopping into my car with my toddler certain weekday mornings as we head to the library- story time for toddlers! This generous program is quite popular in the community considering that it’s fun for toddlers and puts them in an environment where they can learn, socialize and just have a ball! The library room is pretty large, probably half the size of a tennis court, and it fills up pretty fast too. Most caregivers and moms just sit on the carpeted floor although there’s a row of chairs against the back wall. It always surprises me how many of us actually fit into that room. It goes to show that libraries are built to be resourceful and bring people together from all walks of life.
When at the library, I also notice how we as humans naturally tend to appease and provide for each other whether it be in a few encouraging words that help a lost child find his or her parent or a simple gesture of kindness such as making a little room so another can join. It is so natural to be human and to instill these values in the most important documents and constitutions of our country so that we as people, we as a country and we as global citizens never remain indifferent to the plight of human suffering.
I wonder sometimes how generous we as a community could be with our resources. Maybe I should put it this way- there’s probably no country in the world (unless they’re fundamentalists) that doesn’t have resources to accommodate more people, especially those in need. Democratic nations are built on certain ideals that respect basic human principles. In the face of a refugee crisis, if nations neglect their duties to humanity under the garb of self-preservation of their own culture and own nationalistic ideals, then that doesn’t say much about their values, as it is no culture to turn a blind eye to those displaced by a war.
The world faces a refugee crisis. Nations are debating whether to keep their borders open or to spend their precious resources in building fences to stop the influx of refugees fleeing war-torn countries even though they have nowhere to go. It is a debate of fundamental principles and values. Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, recently said in an address to the European Parliament, “You can say, ‘I don’t have the right facilities now, I need more money,’ but you can’t say no in principle, that’s unacceptable.”
Maybe it’s time to just look around and realize that what we do best is what comes naturally. We are born to be caregivers, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers who would find any means to end the suffering of a child who they see standing at their door, for it could be their own child or their own family.
There’s always room for one more, for one more corner and one more bed that could accommodate another, because in reality, it is one’s own heart that feels the comfort, contentment and peace. The refugees are as human as our own families, and by helping them; we help ourselves, because we’re like them- human beings.
As Merkel said, “We need to see them as people, not as an anonymous mass.”