Put yourself in a refugee’s shoes: What would you do?

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Date: 
19 Aug 2010

News reports covering the arrival of Tamil refugee claimants on the MV Sun Sea have provoked many and varied public reactions.  Some responses fail to get to the heart of the matter: the human element.  We don’t know for sure what caused the passengers to make this dangerous trip, but likely some if not most were fleeing persecution.  If you were in a similar situation – what would you do? 

Get out and call for help

If your house caught fire, what would you do? Stay and wait for someone to come to your rescue? Call 9-1-1 and wait for the fire trucks to arrive? Or would you get out and call for help from a safe place ?  What would you do? There is no mythical ‘queue’ for people fleeing violence and persecution – it is a matter of finding whatever escape route you can.  We are not talking about looking for better economic opportunities.

Personal safety: priceless

In the news we often hear stories of families going to great financial lengths –remortgaging a house, taking on enormous credit card debt or organizing community fundraisers – to pay for a child’s costly lifesaving surgery.  This isn’t any different for a family looking to save their lives or the life of a loved one.  People make enormous efforts to ensure personal health and safety, even if it will take years to regain what was lost.  $50,000 is a small price to pay to save a life.  What would you do?

Each individual on the MV Sun Sea has a life worth fighting for.  Before judging them, let them tell their story – and ask yourself: what would you do in their place?  Ask others close to you too.  Now is a good time to think about it.