Refugees, not Infiltrators!

By IndepthAfrica
In Article
Jan 23rd, 2014

Refugees, not Infiltrators!


“You must not oppress a foreigner, since you know the life of a foreigner, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 23: 9)

If you have not heard by now, about 30,000 African refugees (not migrants and not infiltrators) made a major protest in Tel Aviv, Israel on Sunday January 5, 2014. They were asking for the stoppage of the harsh treatment by the state of Israel and also to be recognized as refugees until such time that they can safely return home. It should be noted that “The only democracy” in the Middle East has only accepted less than 200 refugees since its inception. This baffles me!

When major democracies around the world are accepting above 80% of the horn of Africa destitute, Israel has chosen to put them in large barbwire fenced camps in the Negev desert. You may name the enclosure as you choose. But I believe, if the government had its way and was able to put all 60,000 refugees in the camp it would be a concentration camp in a desert.

The Supreme Court of Israel has ruled this imprisonment unconstitutional. And yet the Netanyahu government is bent on  transferring refuges and keeping them separate from the rest of humanity. The only option left for us is to scream louder so that the rest of the world, and that is you, can hear and see the plight of these refugees, judge and put pressure on Israel to stop this action.

Day-3 was Christmas for Christians in Eritrea, Ethiopia and others following the Coptic or Orthodox Christian faith around the world. The majority of the refugees from these nations, men and women with their children did not celebrate this holiday but instead joined their brothers and sisters as they protested in front of the US embassy, in solidarity with their unfairly imprisoned brothers and sisters on hunger strike in the Negev Deseret.

Today is Day-4 for the strike or rally in Israel. Close to 10,000 ppl are currently gathered at the grounds of the Knesset and thousands more are on their way there.

Young Eritreans refugees are leaving their amazingly beautiful land (you have to see it to believe it), a tight-knit family, friends and other loved ones due to the harsh living condition and tyranny created by an autocratic leadership and an unelected government mirroring partly that of the Khmer Rouge and partly that of the DPRK.

Darfurians are internationally recognized refugees who left their native land in western Sudan due to the ethnic cleansing they were subjugated to and still are being subjugated to.

Both of these refugee groups and other African refugees have passed through insurmountable obstacles, through deserts and ruthless Bedouin kidnappers who are akin to body snatchers to get to a place where they thought democratic ideology has triumphed over tyranny (or were they wrong?)

The political and social onslaught on the refugees is undeterred. For more than a year, the extreme right wing factions of the Israeli government (and of the society) have characterized the refugees as obstacle to maintaining a Jewish state. The vast majority of the refugees are good-hearted, law abiding people whose only desire is to find a temporary home (emphasis on temporary). Nonetheless, we have seen them being racially taunted, their shops, homes and daycare facilities being burned, being deposed of their livelihood and being physically abused. Just a few days ago a 16 month baby girl was critically stabbed on head. The courts have yet to confirm if the incident is racially motivated. Regardless, the incident has added fuel to the fire and has made the resolve of the refugees even stronger.

The term refugee is used to signify one who is seeking refuge from insurmountable calamity. Yet this term is used lightly by those of us who have lived or are currently living our lives in comfort and true liberty. May be our apathy is not there or is weak?

My hope is that you become aware of the current state of African refugees in Israel; and for now just that. I hope that humanity prevails over fears of unfounded threats against a purist ideology (sadly that is ones choice).

Today we may be refugees in Israel, Yemen and Saudi Arabia; tomorrow one of these nations may be refugees in our lands. Treat us well and we will surly return the favour in kind, should you (God forbid) find yourself in our current state.

Those of you on twitter use the hash-tag #strikeforfreedom. It will lead you to valuable information on the matter as they come. Keep being informed. God be with them: The only and very true hope left! One should fear God, if not humanity.

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