Who are Refugees? — part 2

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Zeina, a Syrian refugee who came to Detroit in 2012 with her mother and younger brother.

This is part two in a series. To read Part 1 first, click here.

I’m sitting on my bed, deciding where to go to breakfast with my husband on a Sunday morning.  We slept soundly last night. I will brush my teeth, take a hot shower (as long as I like) and have my choice of clothes to wear for the day. Then we will go get breakfast and enjoy each other’s company for the rest of the day. The safety and comfort of home is a normalcy in my life and community, as is the freedom to go and do whatever I like.  This is not the case for refugees. These simple everyday things are exactly what they are seeking — a place that will allow them to simply be.


a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.

Here are two stories about two groups of refugees after their relocation to the United States and Canada. First, Mohammed Rafiq, from Myanmar (Burma). He and his friends are Rohingyas, a persecuted Muslim minority. Now in Canada they are going to school for the very first time and have found an Canadian mom in their English teacher, Lara.

And finally, the story of Zeina, a Syrian refugee who came to Detroit in 2012 with her mother and younger brother. She is happy to simply be able to play outside without the fear of violence and war.

Wherever you are reading this, look around you. Look at what you have. Look at the people who love you. Be thankful for your kitchen sink, your telephone, your refrigerator, your front door, and the time you have to read blog posts and learn about the world. Shouldn’t everyone have these things? And when they don’t have them, and we do, our response speaks deeply to our character.

I can’t think of a place where the Golden Rule is more applicable. If my boys were fleeing a bombed-out neighborhood in Lafayette, Colorado, I would hope they would find a teacher as kind and loving as Lara to teach them the language and character of their new country and visit them when they are hurt. I would hope they would be able to be children again in their new home—to play outside in the sun.

Right now, you and I all have the opportunity to be the Laras of the world, to offer the broken people of the world’s war-torn nations a place of safety and kindness and love in our neighborhoods and in our hearts.

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