Friday, October 11, 2013

Refugee Ilead Speaker

A good while back, I went to a seminar about refugees for Ilead.  It really changed my views on immigration even illegal immigration.
                The seminar started with speaker, Dr. Murray Webber,  talking about statistics of refugees or asylum seekers in each country and definitions of terms that would be used throughout the night.  Refer to the image below for definitions.  Australia is 52nd  in helping refugees but US is 9thThe treatment to refugees in these countries is not the best. 
              The next speaker, Sister Di Santalben, spoke about different refugees she had helped and what made her get involved. A friend of hers brought her into a hospital that was treating a man who had been locked up in detention.  This man was scrunched up in a fetal positioned and had been in this position for the past four years.  At his bed watching over him were two armed body guards.  One Afghan woman she helped had been held in detention with her husband for four years.  While in detention she noticed her husband becoming ill.  To boost his moral she had him make clothes out of the bed sheets because he was a tailor back in Afghanistan.  This past month she visited an Afghan woman who had found a home through government immigration.  The home was in horrible condition and very unsafe for her four children.  There was an electrical cord hanging loosely within their reach, a black swimming pool with flies swarming around it, and one toilet that did not work.  These were just a few problems.  Sister Di Santalben took pictures and emailed Australia’s head of immigration and other government officials to give the Afghan woman her money back and move her into a better place to stay by midday or these pictures were going in the paper. The family was relocated by 10AM that day.
                The next speaker, , was a refugee himself.   He spoke of his long track to Australia.  He was a well off young man in Congo until the war in Congo started.  He tried getting to Zamia to seek refuge by boat.  Everyone but him and a friend were shot dead in the boat. They were not killed because they laid down and got buried under the dead bodies as they fell upon them.  Some people found him and took him to a refugee camp in Kenya.  The camp was heaven during the day but hell at night.  The police at night would take off their uniforms and rape the women and torture the man.  One man got killed and stripped of all of his belongings for responding to his wife’s screams.  Even though he called it heaven during the day everyone was still fed little food and provided little clothes.  No one really had many things to do to occupy themselves.  This led to a lot of children being born in the camp.  He finally was freed from the camp and taken from Kenya, Bangkok, to Beijing, and finally to Australia.  In Australia he has set up a successful life of helping other refugees and preaching.
                Another boy named Matt spoke about  his work with the Salvation Army at Nauru and Manas Island.  These are refugee camps of Australia.  He called these two islands the “furthest place from anywhere while being somewhere.” The supplies and treatment on these islands are low.  There is not enough efficient clothing and only 3 washing machines for every 300 men.  Matt while volunteering developed a boil the size of tennis ball on the back of his neck and was only given Benadryl for treatment.  Think of what the refugees must have been receiving. 

                Knowing all of this has made me think.  It seems to me it would just be easier to help the refugees than persecute them.  Back home they likely have a family who is starving and near death because they scrounged up enough money to send one of their children to a better life.

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