World Refugee Day, June 20, 2014

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“On World Refugee Day, I call on the international community to intensify efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts, and to help achieve peace and security so that families can be reunited and refugees can return home.” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon


With all due respect to the Secretary-General, I have come to believe that these statements are nothing but political painkillers.

There are no true efforts by the UN represented to end the conflict and the suffering of the millions around the world; I believe that world politics speak louder than all humanitarian efforts that are way less than what the Middle East needs whether in Iraq or Syria. Specifically, millions of potential refugees can be prevented by taking a stand against the upraising conflict in Iraq nowadays, yet all that UN and the G8 will be contented to do is making statements regarding how dangerous things will get.

Personally, I have lost faith in the idea of what the United Nations might be – for us all, and for those unable to speak for them selves on the global stage or around the Security Council.

So for me, on this day, let me speak the one thing we can do, and that is addressing the truth as it is.

Sometimes, we must be brave and honest enough to say that this is one big game of politics and that the UN remains far too weak and too poor to intervene sufficiently – nor has the UN garnered the moral authority to lead in this way.

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On this World Refugee Day, the truth that I see is that Syria, along with numerous other countries, are the fields of wars run by great countries.

It’s the ugly truth about the world we live in. Maybe this shout reaches out to people new to this matter.

And so, I am left with a simple truth that for me – as individuals gathering together in small groups – we must take up the charge and the cause for refugees, those internally displaced peoples, and matters of social justice, and begin where we are to take a step forward toward this cause.

And so, let me close with this quote as a reminder to myself and others:

“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead. Every movement begins with one voice. Let us begin, today.

Majed Abdulsamad

P.S. After standing last week in Chicago’s Grant Park watching the World Cup game between the team from the USA playing against Ghana, and while everyone in the crowd was cheering for the US, my friends – including 4 African friends – loudly cheered for Ghana. It was in this moment that I once again came to realize that a personal opinion is appreciated in this community of Chicago, and in America. And this is Freedom at its best. Where personal opinions and ideas are respected.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. gpdoyle says:

    “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

    ― Desmond Tutu

  2. gpdoyle says:

    Worth noting:

    Using Science as a Tool to Protect Human Rights

    The Science for Human Rights (SHR) project leverages technological and scientific progress for human rights advocacy and campaigning. We currently focus on utilizing geospatial technologies like satellite imagery for human rights monitoring and conflict prevention. These new tools allow us to gain access to previously inaccessible conflict zones, provide compelling visual evidence and present information in a new and engaging way, all of which assists our activists in their campaigning efforts.

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