In class we have read the short story “Ultimate Safari” by Nadine Gordimer, about a group of people that had to flee because of war and conflict. We have also heard about the people of West Sahara; how they have suffered and being forced to live in refugee camps after the invasion by Morocco in 1975. In addition, we have looked at various statistics about refugees.
After working with both facts and fiction, I am left with an overwhelming impression of unfairness. It just feels so wrong that where you are born in the world will decide whether you get a safe childhood or not. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be forced away from my own home, and all the trauma the refugees are going through.
When I hear these stories of how bad conditions they are living under in the refugee camps, and for example how bad the women are being treated some places, I feel sort of ashamed of how privileged my life is. I feel guilty for taking my life in Norway so for granted as I have been; our problems here at home seem so insignificant if you compare it to the circumstances the refugees are living under.
I think it is very hard to find an answer on what the UN can do to solve or improve the situation for the refugees. After reading on their websites, I feel like the UN already has done very much to improve the refugee challenge. The UN Refugee Agency has its headquarters in Geneva, but about 89 per cent of the staff are in the field. I think it is very important that we have people present in the relevant areas, not just bureaucrats in offices.
If this question had an easy answer, it would perhaps have been solved a long time ago. I think the main reason we have been unable to solve this situation, is because many of the solutions are not benefiting the rich countries. Instead; many of the possible solutions will be an economic burden to the countries that really have the opportunity to do something.
Meanwhile, as we wait for the politicians to act, there are some things we as individuals can do. For example, you can sign up as sponsor for children in refugee camps. In addition, instead of throwing your old clothes away, you can donate your clothes to people in need. However, I honestly feel like there is just so much we as individuals, or even as countries, can do to improve this challenge. I think that the refugee challenge is something we are going to struggle with for a long time; there will always be new refugees, if not from war, also from climate changes and new challenges that will arise in the future.