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World Refugee Day - neb i wrando
World Refugee Day

Refugees (mp3)

Let us come to confess what we've done
We've been looking for a place where we belong
Beckoned by the glimmer of the sun
And following an old and bitter song
But we trust in images of peace
Maybe only the fool can understand
Hoping for some moment of release
And building palaces of sand
Building palaces of sand

But the dark hangs thick round our eyes
We're children cast into the cold
Where teachers peddle empty lies
And our hunger is a passion to be sold
We lose our voices in the night
And the brush lies heavy in our hands
Hiding from the soldiers out to fight
And trapped in our palaces of sand
Trapped in palaces of sand

Ah but friend when there's nothing left to lose
In the last black hour before the dawn
The the seed takes root in the womb
And a life lies waiting to be born
The sun comes with a flush of rose
Lightening the contours of the land
Brightening the eyes that never close
And falling on palaces of sand
Falling on palaces of sand

So let the dead bury the dead
Let the soldiers flood the battlefield
Let those teachers go burrow through their heads
For ours is a dream that will not yield
We'll turn here in a dance of peace
Leading our children by the hand

Holding the moment of release
And building palaces of sand
Building palaces of sand

Although we should care more about this every day, I hope that at least today you will all take a little time to think about the plight of refugees around the world. You may think it's not your problem and you shouldn't have to care, but I don't think we can turn a blind eye when our country's "preemptive war" is the cause of 2.2 *million* people having fled Iraq completely, as well as a further 2 million having been forced to leave their homes but still live in a war ravaged country where after more than 4 years of occupation we are still unable to prevent the daily slaughter of dozens to hundreds of civilians.

As far as I know there are no reliable casualty counts for Iraqi civilians, but iraqbodycount.org estimates that there have been between 65828 and 72112 *reported* civilian deaths so far, and the real body count is probably much higher, not even counting the people who have been severely wounded but not killed.

Even without the dead and wounded, there are more Iraqi refugees than there are people in Phoenix. I've lived here for my whole life, nearly 30 years, and I haven't come anywhere near seeing everyone who lives here. I can't imagine every one of us and more being uprooted and driven out of the city.

Probably the worst internal refugee problem we've had in the recent past was from Hurricane Katrina where the refugees were probably less than 1 million out of the 300 million people in the country. Even that has caused significant problems in the places where the largest numbers of people have gone, and this is in a rich country which is not under anywhere near the kind of strain that Iraq is.

Imagine if instead of the 1/3 of 1 percent of our population that Katrina displaced, we had more than *50* million people fleeing an ongoing war within our country. Even with all of our resources, we would have a very hard time handling that, but that is about the same percentage of our population as the 4.2 million Iraqi refugees is of Iraq's total population of 27.5 million. Every month another 50,000 Iraqis are being displaced, and those who can't get out are living, or dying, in a war zone. Can you even imagine that?

Edit: Last night I forgot but I also wanted to mention that as of today the US has taken in a total of 701 Iraqi refugees since the war started. That's seven hundred and one, not 701,000, not even 1,000 out of 4,200,000 people that this war - *our* war - has displaced so far. Between a third and half of that number has been let in this year, probably because some people noticed what was going on and started complaining, but the numbers that they've said they would let in this year have gone from 20,000, probably when people started asking questions, down to now 7,000 with only a few hundred having come in so far. I'm guessing that by the end of the year the numbers still won't come close to what they've promised, and Iraq and its neighbors will continue to shoulder this burden pretty much on their own. Even if they fulfill their latest promise though, that is still less people coming here during the entire war than the number who are forced out of their homes every single week.

...and this is just one example of the many conflicts driving out even more millions of refugees in the world today.

I already posted this song a while ago, along with a few others, but maybe more of you will be willing to listen to it today. You should, it's worth it.

Tags: , , , ,
Current Mood: melancholy melancholy
Current Music: Refugees (Live) - McDermott's 2 Hours

1 comment or Leave a comment
eemfibble From: eemfibble Date: June 23rd, 2007 10:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's a really sucky situation. I don't really know how it'll end. I don't think we're getting out of it any time soon, and even that may be a blessing or a curse for the people we leave.
1 comment or Leave a comment