**** This post has been UPDATED****
I apologise that it has taken such a long time to return here and post my feelings. Once I got going there was a lot of feeling for me and there is still more to say. But for now I'm just going to post some initial thoughts (otherwise I may end up writing a book before you hear from me!)
I have already updated this note a couple of times but will leave it as it is now and perhaps write more in another post at a later date.
The UNHCR currently estimates the number of refugees world wide to be almost 60 million people.
http://www.unhcr.org.uk/about-us/key-fa ... gures.html
It is unclear if this figure also includes Palestinian refugees who are cared for by another organisation called UNRWA (the Palestinian refugee crisis arose prior to when UNHCR was formed in 1951)**.
This number is growing every single day.
Before I met Jesus again I thought that my future direction would be to work with refugees, in a health and humanitarian context, for the rest of my life. (I may write more about how and why I changed direction in my blog post). Not only had I lived in a refugee camp for two years, I had also volunteered in a Scottish detainee centre where I'd met people who were seeking asylum in the UK, and I was studying for a Masters degree in International Health and Development in which I was learning a huge amount, further to the accounts I had already heard first hand, about experiences of people who become refugees in the context of war and conflict and of the plight of people living in African nations.
These people have touched my heart and I am passionate about their plight.
I see the formation of groups of people called 'refugees' as a clear and undeniable indication of GLOBAL problems that have gone unchecked or unresolved for many years.
To put it another way, I see these people and their lives as symptoms
that desperately need attention. I have deep compassion for their lives which are often extremely traumatic as a result of vast numbers of people before them ignoring issues of a lack of love and truth present in their families, societies and politics.
Almost without exception, these people are in such difficult situations because of the economies, politics and trade practices of affluent western nations. So when I refer to the willful avoidance and denial in people who have gone before them, I mean not just in the past generations of people in the same culture as these refugees. I mean also in the generations of people who have been involved in imperialism, in domination and rape of resources (human, geological, agricultural) in various nations. I mean in the hearts of people who took power over others because they could, and as their descendants (until we heal) we carry many of their injured viewpoints about entitlement, privilege and power.
For a person to decide to uproot themselves from the place of their birth; from the place where they have earned their living and had their children; from the place where their family is; where their assets (if they have any) are; from the place they know the language and culture and to go to another place where none of things exist, by ways that are dangerous and uncertain is not an easy decision. And it is not a decision that you make when your family, your income and your way of life is secure and fulfilling.
So, when a person or group of people is forced to leave their home or they decide that leaving is their only chance at any kind of quality life, then these people making this decision clearly signal that something is very, very wrong in the world
– and that it has been for sometime and no one has dealt with the causes properly.
And when refuges – who are people coming from terrible conditions where life and living is difficult – are treated with anger, fear and are judged and excluded, then that to me says an awful lot about the terrible conditions in the souls of those in more affluence who continue to abuse the already abused. And this judgement and cynicism and all round lack of compassion, is another problem that has gone unchecked in 'westernised', affluent societies as well. Negative and violent reactions towards refugees are just more symptoms of injured, unloving and self righteous conditions (causes)
within the souls of people who choose judgement and exclusion.
Conflicts, crises, bombings and the global responses to these issues are opportunities for everyone who is effected to uncover, expose and deal with issues of a lack of love and truth within themselves.
I see this ESPECIALLY for those in western societies - these situations and our collective response are all symptoms and signals to serious, long standing issues of inequality, lack of humility and avoidance of the use of wills to live in truth and love for ourselves, within our families and in our societies.
As I observe the entire dynamic of the 'refugee crisis' in western media I see is a multitude of causes still being overlooked and a mob of people acting out and displaying soul injuries that (to me) are screaming for attention and healing. I see that, or an avoidance and denial of what is really happening in the world around us in favour of 'reporting' what I describe as pop culture (and all its injuries of promoting a hip, cool and cynical facade) in place of truthfully informing people about what is really happening around them. Popular
media and news reporting is often now heavily involved in bias and cynical humour and attitudes that is not even hidden.
I read an interview with a journalist recently who was talking about the changes happening in media and journalism and job security. He said that as a reporter his job used to be about discerning if a story should be published was to question is it 'in the public interest' to share this, i.e. does this benefit others and society, does it improve awareness and welfare of members of society?. And now the question is becoming more and more 'is the public interested?' and basing decisions about publishing a story on this (for economic reasons).
Of course, if a society is largely interested in maintaining facade, denying fear and pain, and avoiding taking responsibility for the effects of their actions, then those people as a whole will NOT be interested in hearing about war, conflict, injustice OR
they will only be interested in hearing about it in a way that promotes sensation (living in emotions rather than feeling them) and plays 'blame games' that vilify certain people and promote 'righteousness' on the part of others in the absence of any sincere exploration of truth (i.e. that does not challenge the viewer to reflect, but rather promotes them remaining in righteous anger or living in judgement- which is the avoidance of fear).
I know that when enough people change their will based desires then the media will change the way that they report things. Media coverage (or avoidance) of these issues is another symptom
of our collective injured desires.
Of course there are some people doing their best to assist those in need and even some media outlets who don't drop these issues. There are many people worldwide who are involved in advocating, acting and caring for refugees and other displaced and suffering people. However, there is still a dearth of posited 'solutions' that are focused on causes and long term alleviation of the conditions that created such terrible living conditions for people to flee from in the first place.
As I've said previously, I observe that media, political and societal systems are still fuelled by a collective soul condition that is focussed on living in fear
, rather than acting to love or to face truth.
That means that, right now, the number of people who choose to live in fear and seek commiseration for their pain far outweighs those who choose to feel fear and embrace a higher motivation (be that motivation be to love as God Loves or simply to extend human love plus pragmatic, logical and lasting solutions to others in need).
This is the very tangible, (perhaps not particularly easy), action that many people must make before there is an end to suffering and injustice on this planet. That is, to choose to use my will to love in whatever circumstance. This requires humility to whatever emotional condition within me that opposes a loving use of will - I don't have to be perfect but I do have to stop using my fears as an EXCUSE not to grow and act.
And it is the most important work I can do to change the world.
I said recently, at the end of the first 'Using My Will to Love' assistance group that it is my belief that once each of us makes that choice to use our will and desire to love, then wherever we are, in whatever walk of life or sphere or experience - when we choose to use what we have in us and around us to love others and ourselves - then IMMEDIATELY we begin to effect positive change in the world.
We don't have to seek out opportunities to assist people out of guilt or duty, instead when we choose to love we are inspired to create these opportunities for others and/or our desire and our attractions will have us engaging and improving avenues that already exist to include a focus on causes, not just effects.
Love in action brings clear reasoning, compassion and discernment.
Fear in action creates discrimination, prejudice, control and restriction.
Clear reasoning, compassion, and discernment are the qualities that people will need in order to find lasting solutions to the problems of conflict and violence that currently plague the world.
These solutions will give all people opportunities to use their will to heal, and the ability to create and support themselves. These solutions will focus on speaking truth, exposing root causes of problems and will educate everyone involved about love.
We don't need to wait until we are 'healed' to act. We only need to be humble to our sin and injury (rather than acting in those emotions) while we act, to effect positive change in the world.
I believe that we can embrace the process of discovery and experimentation in a humble way with a desire to find lasting solutions to pain and suffering right now. In fact, unless we do that then we aren't really living God's Way.
And when we embrace that process for ourselves, that is, to permanently solve the problem of our own pain and suffering (deal with causes within us - not just seeking to suppress effects) then we will gain wisdom and ideas that we will naturally want to share with the world that can be the starting point for finding lasting solutions for global issues. The sin is avoiding our own work in healing.
I don't believe that world peace and the end to violence is a magical thing that happens when we 'heal' ourselves alone in our bedroom without even exiting the front door, as some new age philosophies imply.
As we begin to truly heal then everything about us begins to change. Not only are we are busting
to get out into the world and give love and truth to others but we make choices that are better for everyone around us; we want to deal with the causes for every single issue in our lives and this has immense effects on the people around us and ultimately the world. In other words it is a pretty dynamic, engaged and active condition - and most of us still fear being that engaged with truth in our lives. It can feel preferable (it has to me) to sit and home and try to 'deal' with my 'stuff' without really facing fear and taking positive action.
The truth is that in order to heal we must stretch our comfort zones (which are really our fear-prison zones).
It is getting out and facing the truth in ourselves and in the people around us and having love, compassion and ideas to offer that is the starting point for a better world. And we will never reach that state if we avoid using our will to love in our lives.
*** At the end of the second world war a large number of people were displaced at the creation of Israel. These people fled to neighbouring countries where many, along with their descendants (up to 3-4 generations of people) still live. Current numbers estimate this population total to be over 5 million people. After such a long time these people and their descendants remain stateless, many without any civil rights whatsoever and they live as largely forgotten people. UNRWA receives far less funding and is not cared for under the umbrella of UNHCR. And the idea of a political or humanitarian solution for these people living mainly in Jordon, Syria and Lebanon has long gone from the hearts and minds of those involved in world politics. And yet they continue to live in very difficult, impoverished conditions, especially in Lebanon where they are refused the right to work or travel. (I know a lot about Palestinian refugees because I lived in a camp in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon for a couple of years).
Palestinians in Lebanon:
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... erritories
https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/artic ... ortunities