My regular readers (all 15-20 of them) may be wondering, "So why is a baseball card blogger writing about such a serious topic as refugees?" "What does he know about them?" "Why should I care about this?" "It's a baseball card blog, not a human rights blog!!!" And to an extent they are right. Out of all the bloggers participating in this huge project, I may have the least amount of knowledge about the topic at hand. But I realized that if 15-20 more people were made aware of this subject, who otherwise would have not even thought about it before, then I feel that I did my part.
I have done a bit of research on the subject, specifically about the organization that the blogging community is trying to help, Refugees United. Needless to say, this is very heavy stuff.
The definition of refugee, according to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, means:
It comes from the French word réfugié, past participle of (se) réfugier to take refuge (it goes further back, click on the link above to see it all). But it seems that this definition is too narrow, especially in the eyes of Refugees United.
According to the U. S. Commission of Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) website, there are 14,047,300 men, women, and children forced to be refugees. Many are due to political reasons. Some may be harmed if they were to still be in their home country. But not all refugees leave for another country by choice. Some are abducted from their homes, others may have been conned by people offering to help but instead forcefully sell them as servants in other countries, in many cases, sending family members to different parts of the world (human trafficking, another issue entirely, but can be related. You'll see in a minute).
It doesn't matter how old a person is, what their gender is, or how healthy he or she is. Many families who plan on leaving their homes and look for a new life in another part of the world wind up in this sad, and very scary situation. Want a good example about it, this is the reason why Refugees United was established. If, after reading it, this story does not make you stop and think how fortunate you are that you have your family with you, no matter how difficult it is sometimes to get along with them, then I can't think of another way to get the point of this organization across.
The whole goal of this organization is to provide the ways and means to reunite families. They may not be physically be able to do it, but just to be able to initiate conversation, just allow the families to know that they are alive can only provide hope for them and keep the dreams alive that they may come back some day (by any means necessary). The story linked in the previous paragraph is only one example of the kind of work they hope to accomplish. But there are more situations like this, not just in Afghanistan and Russia, but in other parts of the world. Not all refugees get to where they've been because they were the victims of evil intent.
They could be the victims of natural disasters, like typhoons, monsoons, and recent tragedies like the Tsunami from 2004-2005 that have torn families apart. Of the many people who survived, there could be parents who to this day still do not know if their children are alive or not. Children wandering the streets still searching for their parents. Husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, any possible situation you can imagine is still out there, even four years after the fact. And who knows what may have happened to them. Could the situation in the story above happened to them? Can you ever imagine this happening to you???
But now you may be saying to yourself that this doesn't happen here in the US. It only happens in third world countries. Really? You think so? Think about this. Many foreigners are lured here to the United States in hopes of a better future (jobs). There are even catalogs for mail order brides where men could pick and choose the bride of their choosing based on a picture and a profile. But once here, they can wind up the victims of human trafficking. They now become refugees too, and unless they are rescued, they may possibly never see their families again.
It's a scary world out there. You watch the local and national news, and you see and hear stories about all the doom and gloom we're currently living through. The number of foreclosures, the rising jobless rates, the economic disaster we're in. But even with all of that staring at us in the face, we know that we here in the United States are still well off than those in other parts of the world. Be thankful for that. But keep in your minds and hearts those who are not as fortunate as you. Think of those that have not seen their families in a long time. Think of those who keep searching. Think of those still hoping that one day, he, she, they, will be reunited with their loved ones, no matter how apart in the world they may be.
Now what can you do? There is plenty. Definitely read more about what Refugees United hope to accomplish. Click on your favorite search engine and type the word "refugee," and click on other links that show more information about this hot button topic. Go to the U. S. Commission of Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) website, learn. But most importantly, be aware that many want to see their families once again. That's why blogcatalog.com asked that November 10 be the day that bloggers from all communities join in and spread the word. That's why I've had that little square ad on the right side of my blog. Because regardless of where they came from, regardless of how they are now, regardless of what their present situation is, they have a human right to know where their loved ones are and what happened to them.
If this all sounds like unorganized gibberish, maybe it is. But the intent was there. After all, what would I know about refugees...I just write about baseball cards.
For more information, please click onto the links below. There you will find more information about, and the organizations involved in helping, refugees. jba
- http://www.refugees.org/ - USCRI
- http://www.hrw.org/ - Human Rights Watch
- http://refugee.net/ - Refugee Republic
- http://www.refugeesinternational.org/ - Refugees International
- http://www.nnirr.org/ - National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
- http://www.refugeefamilyservices.org/ - Refugee Family Services
- http://www.riwn.org/ - Refugee Women's Network Inc.
- http://www.theirc.org/index.html - The International Rescue Committee
- http://www.unrefugees.org/index.cfm - USA for United Nations Refugee Agency
- http://www.refunite.org/ - Refugees United