Today’s European media are filled with articles about the worldwide movement of desperate individuals fleeing from pain, making migration and refugees major news topics in 2015.
For my part, I believe that the European public would appreciate it if its leaders demonstrated compassion and ensured that everyone lived a dignified life. But for many different reasons, regular people in European countries are unsure of how to respond to the influx of migrants.
Asylum seekers’ abilities to become productive members of their host communities are sometimes questioned. It’s a reasonable concern, considering the difficulty of uprooting one’s life and starting over in a new country.
What are the Prospects for Success, for Both the Refugees and their New Communities?
The 9-year-old Syrian kid Mahmoud and his family escaped the conflict in their home country and eventually settled in Egypt. Rather than listen to me muse on the topic, I encourage you to watch the video at the top of the page to learn more about Mahmoud’s story.
Mahmoud is bullied by the local youngsters because of his Syrian heritage; he is rejected from schools; and his father sees no hope for his son’s future. Mahmoud informed his father of his desire to leave on a boat for Italy so that he might attend school there. However, the plan failed. Shortly after setting sail, his boat came under fire, and he was soon back in Egypt.
A regular, safe life appeared unattainable until Sweden provided sanctuary to Mahmoud and his family. Sweden, one of Europe’s most welcoming countries, has pledged to assist Mahmoud’s family in starting over in a new country.
What an amazing tale. Mahmoud is a typical teenager who enjoys school, hanging out with friends, and fantasising about a future career in medicine. His new teacher claims he is similar to the other students.
Mahmoud’s father has been quite proud of his son’s swift adjustment to life in Sweden, remarking that it seems like Mahmoud has always lived there. In spite of appearances, Mahmoud still sheds tears whenever he considers what he’s been through in his ten years.
These videos really warm my heart. Asylum seekers are human beings just like you and me who have been put in a terrible circumstance, and I have never met anyone more determined to pick up the pieces of their lives and make something of themselves.
Those that welcome those in need into their midst may have to provide assistance to help them adjust, but their communities will benefit from the newcomers’ skills and energy.
Communities that welcome asylum seekers gain not only the prestige that comes with providing a good example to the rest of the country, but also the honour of being seen as global citizens.