The past two weeks have been really fast-paced. What with hubby’s numerous business trips, his various birthday celebrations, visiting family and our commitments to them, my daily language lessons and the homework associated; not to mention, the nerve-wreaking awareness of the impending end-of-term exam – I haven’t opened my Mac for almost 2 weeks or really tuned into any television programs. Basically, I’ve just been focused on myself and my world. So, after packing hubby off to Prague this morning, I tuned into CNN International to catch up on what’s been going on and nearly lost my breakfast.
Ending Modern-Day Slavery was about halfway through but caught my immediate attention. The documentary conveyed the story of Africans fleeing their homes to seek refugee status in Egypt and the immense trials they faced – capture by bedouins, slavery, and organ theft…but the few who survive crossing the Sinai desert and flee further to the border are often shot upon arrival. Thousands of bodies are found (often with missing organs) strewn through the desert.
My move to Austria and attendance of the Volkshule, has placed me in direct contact with immigrants from Eastern Europe and Africa and often they tell me about the struggles within their homelands that prompted their (sometimes illegal) migration to other countries where they seek a better life. Before moving here, I held the popular view of illegal immigrants yet often wondered silently, “What could be so bad that they’d risk death to go to wherever?”. Now I’m starting to see things from another angle. This new view tremendously increases my thankfulness for my homeland and blessings. As the saying goes “But for grace, there go I”. Yet, the more I view the situations and speak with the people who do flee, I’m left with even more of a quandary, “What is right? Shouldn’t countries protect their people and resources? Yet, are we not all human, shouldn’t we who have more reach out a hand to those who have less? What is the Christian thing to do, think, feel?” This abrupt awareness is like a slap in the face after weeks of self-focus and decades of ignorance and frankly, leaves me rather unsettled.