The UN Refugee Agency tweeted a TED-Ed video titled “What does it mean to be a refugee?” by Benedetta Berti and Evelien Borgman.
I transcribe a part of it here:
“Let's clear one thing up. There's a lot of confusion regarding the difference between the terms migrant and refugee. Migrant, usually refers to people who leave their country for reasons not related to persecution, such as searching for better economic opportunities, or leaving drought-stricken areas in search of better circumstances. There are many people around the world who have been displaced because of natural disasters, food insecurities and other disasters. But international law, rightly or wrongly, only recognizes those fleeing conflict and violence as refugees.”
Rightly or wrongly... That is the crucial expression here. I'd say it's rather the latter.
I am not a refugee by any kind of definition. But I am seeking refuge as well. We all seek refuge. Whether it be from people who persecute us, or from people who simply bother us. Whether it be from environments we cannot tolerate, or from our own families.
Of course not everybody who seeks refuge changes country. Some change cities. Moving from the big city to a small village... Such people are refugees too.
Others do not move at all, but they seek refuge in a bottle. Alcohol is the refuge of many. Football, shopping, watching TV, eating etc. can all be means of refuge. We all have ways to deal with the unbearable weight of being.
Pursuit of Happiness
The United States Declaration of Independence states:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed;”
You may sneer at the hypocrisy of the people writing “all men are created equal” owning slaves, I do not give my consent as the governed, thus I do not believe Governments have any just powers. However, I believe that all men should be equal when it comes to moving around in the world and I believe that the pursuit of happiness is a very legitimate as well as an unalienable right. So it doesn't make any difference if people are migrants or refugees when the question is to accept them into “our” country or not to accept them. This distinction should be lifted from international law. Refugees, those fleeing persecution, may be given special status for protection and welfare, but this border controls, this GlobalApartheid should end. This world is OURS!