Thursday, December 15, 2016
The International Migrants Day is observed annually on December 18 and the United Nations hosted an event, Global Migration Film Festival, highlighting the journey that people took as they move from one place to another. A panel, including migrants from Sudan, South and Latin America, shared stories and actions taken to make living conditions better for fellow migrants and even for those in their respective countries, with the hope that they don’t have to migrate! This supported the concern of everyone, including the Secretary General who stated that “the reason for migration has to stop as this endangers the lives of all, especially children. There is a need to turn fear into hope and trust, and help to give a life of respect to these citizens of the world.”
It was touching, yet inspiring to hear the story of Sudanese migrant, Ms. Mari Malek, who has founded an organization, Stand for Education, that works at providing appropriate education to children in Sudan.
There were a few things that stood out for me. One was what was raised by Mr. Rafer Guzman, film critic for Newsday and Moderator of the event. He said that in the 1930s, migrants were warm and brought with them a culture that wove into the American tapestry and became a whole. In recent times, this narrative changed. What we have now is the issue of xenophobia – the language of fear and hatred that is dangerously spreading. He firmly stated that this narrative has to change if we want to see betterment of any sort. The other was what Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Jan Eliasson, said, “there is beauty in diversity. We are citizens of the world, not just of a nation.”
It’s the time now is to find solutions, and even better, prevent situations from happening. For this, deal with the problem right there and then, so it doesn’t escalate! A promising way to counter violence is inclusion. To realize that situations get worse if they are not addressed immediately is the need of the hour.
Let us pledge to stand up for someone’s rights, or dignity, today!
Learn more about migrants and refugees here