What would you do, if you belonged to a community that was facing discrimination and even genocide, and the country of your birth had no laws to protect you or your children? Would you stay, waiting to be killed whilst you buried your loved ones?
The Hazaras are one such community that are mostly Shia and face persecution by Sunni Majorities in Afghanistan. Some migrated to Baluchistan, now Pakistan, however, in both countries they continue to face discrimination and I believe, genocide to this day. One of the deadliest attacks on the community took place in 2013, when a series of violent bombs killed hundreds of Hazaras in Quetta.
I met Mohammad Ali, a Hazara who came from Karachi, Pakistan to Western Australia by boat in 2013. I asked Ali if he had been afraid of the long perilous journey. “The danger of the sea was nothing compared to the danger of living in Pakistan,” he said. “At least the sea gave me hope of making it to safety”. After a pause he continued: “My father said he did not want to bury me as he did his brother who was killed in the bomb attacks. He begged me to leave. I did not want to, here I am alone, but I am safe, my parents sleep better knowing that.”
“Refugees don’t want your job or welfare; they just want safety”
In Quetta, Ali worked in his family business. In Perth he struggled to set up his own. Today he mortgages a house, and is saving money for a lawyer, to bring his wife to Perth.
The right to refuge
The Hazaras are not the only ones needing refuge. Across the globe right now, millions of people from all cultures and faiths are fleeing their countries of birth due to a rise not just in wars, but intolerance and brutality.
To many people, a refugee is someone to be feared. Bigoted politicians, who use fear as campaign strategy are often guilty of capitalising on this sentiment. People fear that a refugee wants to steal their jobs and welfare, or commit an act of terrorism. This is far from the truth. They leave jobs and businesses, their loved ones and families only because they want to survive. No matter what their skin color or religion, everyone has the right to live. Refugees don’t want your job or welfare; they just want safety.
“Hate will not heal this planet; only Love can do that”
Mainstream media talks about ‘the refugee crisis’, but this is so much more than that. The real crisis is our increased intolerance for our own human kind. We are not born to hate. We have been conditioned to discriminate against people from different faiths, skin color or ethnicity.
We have evolved technologically, creating weapons to kill on a large scale, and in doing so, have lost our some of our compassion and respect for each other.
Leaders such as Trump speak of closing off borders because we’ve closed off our hearts to the pain and suffering of our fellow human. We want our Governments to protect us, but instead Governments use our tax money to open detention centers and wage wars, none of which protects us or solves the global crisis.
Humanity’s crisis can come to an end, if we replace the hate and fear in our own hearts with love, and teach our children to do the same. When we are able to give the refugees, such as Mohammad Ali refuge in our hearts first, humanity will begin to heal. Hate will not heal this planet; only Love can do that and bring peace, if that is what we wish for our children.
Natasha De Sousa is a runner up in the Amnesty International Blogging Competition. Born and Raised as a minority in Pakistan, Natasha has been a radical, a rebel, an activist, filmmaker, actor, writer, animal communicator and an ardent student of metaphysics. She dreams of a world where humans live in harmony and respect for each other.