On "Refugees Welcome"
When I first saw the “Refugees Welcome” hashtag on Twitter, my first reaction was “Oh I should write that on a paper, take a photo and post it too.” However, right afterwards, something stopped me. “Wait a minute and think about it,” a voice said. Something felt wrong with it.
I pondered on it for a while. Of course, it was the fact that they were welcoming only refugees. I thought everybody should be welcome anywhere and everywhere on the planet they were born. When our Trans-Mongolian train was pulling into China I was considering “What if I write that – 'Everybody is welcome' – after stating the country I am in and post it on the Internet wherever I go?” Like “I'm in China. Everybody is welcome”, “I'm in Taiwan. Everybody is welcome.” That would have given a “concept” to this round-the-world trip. But thinking about it... The Chinese, the Koreans, the Taiwanese, the Americans etc. would probably not like the idea and would tell me “Who are you to say that? To welcome everybody in our country? We don't want you.” And I wouldn't have anything to say to them. It was their country after all that I'd be inviting people to, wasn't it?
Then walking on the beach in San Diego one evening... Of course, I know what's wrong with that “Refugees Welcome” slogan... It's the self-righteousness in the statement. That wherever they're posting that thing from, people see their country as belonging to themselves. And only to themselves. They do not see it that the planet belongs to all of us that are born on it.
However good they may wish to do, however good-willing they may be... And I understand the difficulties that governments might be facing with an influx of foreign people into their country, I understand people's unwillingness to want anybody foreign around their cities, homes etc. Still... “Refugees welcome” just doesn't click with me. I know we are all brought up with the idea that we are from a certain country and that it belongs to us. I am Turkish. My nationality defines my core identity. I was brought up in that culture, I know the songs, I share the tastes, the language I was brought up with is Turkish. As well as I might be speaking another language, it's never going to be, can never be like my mother-tongue. As much comfortable as I might be travelling anywhere in the world, I will still miss my “lands” where people share the same history, have watched the same TV shows, know the same people. But Turkey is NOT my home. Why should the border of my identity be drawn by the line some politicians drew?
Home is home. The roof over your head. Wherever you lay your hat. Home is a person. My home is my husband, my home is my daughters. My home are the people I share the same ideas, the same ethics with. Or those, who even though do not share the same ideas, have respect for each other. Those people are my home and my family. As for Turkey or Italy (which I have gained a citizenship of), those countries do not belong to me... I'm sorry to say the same thing for any other place on the planet. The whole world belongs to all of us.
I see ads everywhere, they are not advertisements in the real sense. Such and such are helping refugees. Good that they are doing something of course. But there has to be something else, people should stop seeing themselves as helping angels saying “We should help them more, we can.” They should start questioning borders. They should question citizenship the way we know it. They should question visas. In short, they should question the status quo. They should start speaking up against these things.
And no, it's not only about refugees, it's about all migrants.
Nobody is obliged to provide anybody social security. Nobody is obliged to open its doors to refugees even though it is written in some international law. BUT nobody has a right to block anybody from going somewhere on the planet they were born. As long as someone does not do anybody any harm, s/he should be free to migrate as freely as birds. There should not be any distinction between refugees and economic migrants. You cannot make such a distinction. I'm sorry you cannot. I mean you can and so many people do, I know that of course, but it is wrong to do that. Why should it be wrong, you may ask. Because it is (should be!) a birthright to be able to go anywhere you wish (freely!) on the planet you were born. I simply cannot understand how people can be hypnotized so as to make believe the contrary.
Therefore I'd say, anybody welcome yourself.
We have a concept of “Tanrı misafiri” in Turkish. “A guest of God.” You welcome strangers. Whoever knocks on your door, you open and provide them with food and shelter. You don't ask them who they are, where they are coming from, where they're going to. You don't ask them if they are refugees or economic migrants, trying to distinguish one from the other.
I don't know how we have come onto this planet, how we came to be born. But somehow, we have all been welcome on this planet when we were born. Please, let's stay that way. I think we are all guests of God on this planet. (If not literally, at least metaphorically.) We will all be leaving it one day... No guest stays forever.
No guest can stay forever...
Note: I know there will be people barking “Oh you get them all in your house if you are so keen.” I am willing to open my house to anybody in need. Let the governments allow anybody to select people or families from a list like orphaned children (Example at http://www.ihfonline.org/childsponsorship.php )
and no, not require, like Canada, 5 families to prove their financial status and promise to give emotional support- whenever people commit to such a thing just accept that this is in good faith. That's enough.
By the way, there is a difference between a person and a government. A person is a concrete identity. A government is something defined. I occupy a certain space. I exist physically. I have a home to live in. Countries are not the homes of governments! I cannot stress this enough. Countries are not the homes of governments! They are not in a position to decide who crosses their borders. I mean, right now everybody, or almost everybody believes it is a natural thing for governments to come up with visa regulations, to “protect” their borders etc. but the day will come that this will be seen as insanity. Even though governments are deemed to have been given authority by the people, nothing, I repeat, NOTHING they do can be on behalf of every single individual in that country. If what they do goes against the beliefs of even one individual, it is wrong. I am not giving my consent to any government to build walls, to pay immigration officers salaries on my name using the tax money they get from me. I am not.
And now that I say all these, I know people will be talking about numbers and money and resources to feed so many people. For that, please read my ideas on taxes and on money.
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