It’s International Refugee Day and there’s no better way to celebrate than ask all of your money to support me wrecking my body at the Gold Coast (Half) Marathon, while supporting a great cause.
I know what you’re thinking, mate.
Why do you care so much about this?
How is running even related to raising funds for this cause?
This isn’t going to make a difference?!
Alright, let’s talk it through.
Don’t worry, it’s not going to be a long rant on how people don’t care with me spilling statistics on how half of the displaced people in this humanitarian crisis are kids – because I have already done that.
No, let’s talk face-to face.
It’s clear that the refugee crisis is horrible. Everyone knows that.
You have seen pictures of desperate mothers clinging onto the lifeless bodies of their babies; distraught men fighting to be seen by a boat while they are sinking; and the cold-hearted facts that it is constantly thrown to our faces that it’s a disaster, and we are all part of it.
It’s a problem. You know it, and deep inside everyone knows that it’s only going to get worse.
The world is quickly sharing pictures of disasters and changing their Facebook profile pictures to mourn a distant death, yet when it comes down to actually be present and show up for their beliefs: there’s only tumbleweed and a wind of cynicism.
Let’s be honest. If you know about the refugee crisis, you probably fall into one of these three categories:
1) You don’t give a damn. I would have to cite way too many psychological studies to explain why people don’t care about human rights issues, so don’t expect a scientifically response from me. This ain’t the Wired.
But I know that people who don’t give a damn is because they have no actual idea what the crisis is about; how desperate these people are. Their ignorance is probably due to the fact that they have landed on a golden chair of luck by scoring such a privileged life that has allowed them to eat, live, breathe, study and work without having to beg international institutions for it.
I don’t really have an interest in these people, because at the end of the day if you can’t understand basic human emotions like empathy, it’s your own journey and you will realise that somewhere in life. (Also it’s draining).
2) People who care too much. Nothing wrong with caring too much. Considering the fact that it is a huge issue that will impact every single nation; given that there are millions of people without a home and we are still tied to international laws that protect human rights, caring is a duty that everyone should act upon. So if you’re one of those, care more. Be louder. Be firm with the sceptical and don’t waste your time with bigots.
3) This is where you are all hiding. You do care; you skim through the news and feel for those people, but you can’t bring yourself enough to care to do something about it..because simply, you have another life to care for. Yours.
Which is alright, I guess. You have to live your life first, before you can move on to give others. So it’s basically understandable why pensioners are feeling neglected when they see refugees getting government payments; or when small business owners feel threatened by a neighbourhood becoming ‘multicultural’, or mothers worry about their children’s new Muslim classmates.
Because in the end, we are not all born with the same level of empathy and compassion; it’s all a journey of being called out for our problematic remarks and whether we learn from them, or keep talking crap that offends other people and call it ‘freedom of speech’.
It’s not that you don’t care, or that you don’t understand; it’s just that your life is so incredibly full on enough that you can’t be possibly even taking the burden for other people too.
You can’t be thinking about kids suffering from poor mental health and self-harm tendencies because they have been locked in a detention centre not so far from your home; when you can barely keep on top of your bills, expenses, your kids education, or your studies.
Life is tough for everyone, but sometimes you forget how tough it really is for others.
Sometimes you forget that yes, you sharing a link on Facebook may not change international laws, but the simple act of caring is revolutionary in a world that has been overtaken by cynicism.
You don’t care because you think it won’t make a difference. Because you think that in the end, nothing can be done, so why even bother coming up with something?
Except that, cynicism only buffers the lives of others for the sake of not taking a position. While you feel like you cleaned your hands off from the responsibility of distant situations, a decision that hasn’t been made by you will eventually be made for them by somebody else. And that somebody else might not give a damn about those people.
Their thinking process probably goes like this,
Nobody cares? Well, okay we will keep them into a detention centre until we will figure out later.
We don’t know where to send them? It’s okay, we can just keep them into this refugee camp in the middle of the desert, nobody will really question the way we are doing things anyway.
So your ‘not making a decision’; your putting your hands up in the defence for your neutralism – is actually a decision. And it’s a big one.
Cynicism, apathy, pretending not to care because you don’t know what steps to take for a better future is the most effective way to let things take its course, whether for better, or for worse.
So today, I not only ask you to support the lives of millions of people, but to fight against cynicism.
Today, I want you to think long and hard about the life you have. Maybe it’s not the best life, maybe you are angry about things that happened out of your hands, maybe you think that you are not smart enough, or strong enough to make a difference,
but I want you to know that challenging your cynicism, your views of the world and really understanding what a refugee must be feeling like in desperately asking for a better life – these might be small acts of courage, but they speak as loud as a government foreign policy.
See, because once you fight cynicism; once you start caring, it’s a roller coaster of emotions. You want to tell everyone, you sneakily tell your friends, colleagues, and this sneaks into the way you shop, talk, and..vote. Vote.
And things may not change completely; things may not as you want them to go, but imagine feeling abandoned in a small island of uncertainties and danger, and learning that there is a person out there who is thinking about you.
Yes, it gives you chills.
So today, I ask you to pledge for refugees. Keep them in your thoughts, share their stories, their struggles and keep in minds when you are making decisions as big as voting and donating money.
And if you can afford it, I would love for you to donate for my fundraising page since I am going to ruin my legs running a marathon.
Here is my fundraising page with all the details.