A day in the life of a refugee: We should be someone who helps

UNHCR Syria Refugee Crisis

Lina has not heard from her husband since he was detained in Syria two years ago. Now a refugee in Lebanon, she lives in a tented settlement with her seven children. © UNHCR/A.McConnell.

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Mr Davor Klepo, a 3rd year Croatian medical student from University of Josip Juraj Strossmayer in Osijek. He serves as secretay of local committee in CroMSIC and Publicatons assistant in IFMSA. Mr Klepo is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Association (IFMSA). The opinion expressed in this piece belongs to the writer and does not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

In World War II people fled to USA from all over Europe to save their lives from most destructive war ever, in the ’90s people from all over Yugoslavia (mostly Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia) fled to Germany, Australia, New Zealand and USA to save their lives, people from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan are fleeing to Europe.

What is the difference? So many Poles, French and Yugoslavians needed shelter in the 40s and they found it (in the UK, Palestine, Syria and Egypt), so many Hungarians needed shelter in the 1956 and they found it (in Yugoslavia and Austria), so many Croatians and Bosnians needed shelter and they found it (in Hungary, Germany and Austria), so many Syrians, Iraqis, Pakistanis and Yemeni people need shelter… What happened? What changed?

Should United Nations do something in Syria, Iraq and Yemen? Yes they should, that’s what Security Council is for, that’s what international blue helmets are for, that’s why United Nations was made for. How are we as people currently not in the war regions not responsible for not reacting to needs of others in those regions? We are, and some of the countries in the Security Council indirectly caused those wars by drawing borders and taking down governments as they pleased.

And now we don’t want to take people, women, children and yes even men of all ages and help them, give them shelter? Why are we privileged to feel not obligated to help, to close ourselves in our small group of people and be indifferent to cries of people without anything? How can anyone look at the twitter feed of a 9-year-old in Allepo and now see her cries for help?

I’m from Croatia, my parents lived in war of the ’90s and they didn’t flee, but when I hear their stories I wonder if it would be better if they did. I’m shocked that people from all over Croatia and Europe are calling for closing borders and denying shelter to people in need. Refugee route went though Croatia, and I was so sad about all of it.

About people whose mothers and fathers, grandfathers and grandmothers went trough World war 2 and then War in Yugoslavia, and even people who lived in a war say something like „We should build a fence to stop them“.

Who helped people in the 40s, ’56, 90s, and may other years? Someone. We need to be someone this time!

About the author

Davor Klepo Croatian, 3rd year medical student from University of Josip Juraj Strossmayer in Osijek, Secretay of local committee in CroMSIC and Publicatons assistant in IFMSA. Author is from the region with history full of wars, his father, grandfather and great grandfather participated in all major wars Croatia was part of in the 20th century. Speaking as someone with a lot of interest and knowledge of history and politics of the old continent.

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