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Monday, November 10, 2008

Refugees United: I Saw Them Die

Displacement Camp DarfurToday thousands of voices will be raised by the Bloggers Unite for Refugees effort as there are thousands upon thousands of stories that need to be shared; thousands upon thousands of voices that need to be heard.

I will, today, try to add my voice for some of those.

"I saw them die; and after seeing them I knew we had to run away or else we would also die with them....We all ran helping and carrying our children - there were very many of us running away.....My husband and our four children and myself left our home."

Congolese mother Anatasia Ndaonduye, age 30.

At the age of 30 I was climbing the corporate ladder, complaining about traffic and fighting the hustle and bustle of every day life as I knew it. I enjoyed the liberties of being able to sleep in my house, eat food from my refrigerator, and know that my children slept securely and in peace.

'Life is desperate'

...trudging northwards past the last of the government soldiers, past the dead fighters rotting in the ditch, past the empty artillery shell casings and discarded ammunition boxes that litter the first CNDP checkpoint....The family's head, Ndugu, said they were leaving the safety of Kibati because they simply had no choice...

As a human I can not conceptualize the feelings that this man must have. As a Father I can not fathom how this man must feel. How is it humanly possible to live, exist in such an environment. As I write this I wonder is there anything in my life I can relate to this type of despair, and no matter where I have been in life I find that there is not.

"We know its dangerous, but what can we do. We had no shelter (for the rainy season), there is not enough food for everyone, and we just couldn't stay ..... we would rather die in our home than in the camp."

How does one arrive at this point in life? The point that allows you to make this decision. The courage, the fear, the complete and utter hopelessness this family is facing must feel like wave after wave crashing down upon you in some horrific and relentless nightmare. The number of displaced peoples in our world, as of 2007: 8,525,500.

Refugees in Osire Camp in Namibia peacefully demonstrated for their basic rights in June. Countless children stood with their parents holding signs that read, "We are not animals in the zoo. We are people....."

November 4th, 2008 nearly 250,000 people gathered in Grant Park, Chicago to cheer a new President. Not a single participant felt fear or threat from their government for the gathering that was taking place. A few thousand miles seems to equal a few hundred years.

.....In retaliation, Namibian officials have banned refugees from setting foot outside the camp--despite the fact that the Constitution of Namibia allows residents to demonstrate peacefully.

I wish this was the end - but it is not. Join me wont you, act, even if it is simply by raising awareness in your family, social circle, or church. Reach out and be a voice for those who so desperately need one.

New clashes between government and rebel forces have broken out near Goma.

Thousands of displaced people have fled in panic from a nearby camp, as the clashes continue. The UN force, Monuc, have deployed helicopters to try to contain the violence.

There will be more stories to tell, more voices to hear. Be a voice.

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Anonymous said...

So very well done Troy. Thank you for being such a caring person.

Midwest Mom said...

Thank you so much for writing about this important issue. There is nothing that brings it home for me more than the words of refugees themselves.

Houseonahill said...

Extremely thought provoking and well written. Thank you~


RecycleCindy said...

Just wanted to leave a comment of thanks for support of Bloggers Unite day and this important cause. Thank you.