Finally the Eritrean refugees who were trapped between the Egyptian and Israeli borders had a chance to speak about their ordeal: the 18 asylum seekers that Israel refused to let them cross the fence describe what happened and how it happend. Please read the following article www.haaretz.com.
Reading this article, it came spontaneous in my mind the cry to the Lord by Habacuc 1 that the Church has assigned for this Tuesday of the 23rd Week of Ordinary time (Sept 11, 2012). Habacuc was raising this prayer for his people that were oppressed and were facing annihilation from the those surrounding them. In the past millennia, the Israelis suffered more than any other people on earth all types of abuses and injustices. Even now, and in their own land, which they repossessed thanks to the support from the great powers, they are continuously on the alert. As a people who have this extraordinary experience in humanity, shouldn’t they then stand out from all other peoples in the Middle East as advocates of the “poor, the orphan, the widow and the alien?” Should they not fight to defend the 1951 Convention of Geneva for the Refugees, for the drafting of which Israel was a leading force? One way to do so could be by going to the root causes of this unprecedented flow of refugees and promoting just and durable solutions.
Granted, Israel cannot keep its borders open forever to every asylum seeker, but how does Israel contribute towards the solution of this scary problem: by starving children, women, and traumatized young men? By condemning to three years of relegation in the desert 3,000 helpless and defenceless people, stripping them of humanity, by denying them the dignity of self sufficiency and a future? of by deporting them to their countries of origin, no matter what the consequences may be, when it is not damping them in a third country, which accepts them for the few dollars coming from the trade? Or by blaming the unwanted guests for the social problems in the country, with easy generalizations? By labelling them as “infiltrators”, “cancer”, “the greatest threat of the country?” without even giving them an opportunity to tell their tragedies? By boasting: “Until I can get them out of the country I will make them suffer the pains of hell. For that I do not need anyone’s authorization?” Which other country is taking such draconian measures nowadays to “scare” already traumatized people? If every other nation of the world were to take similar inhuman decisions, what would happen to humanity? Condemning 20 people, no matter who they are, what brought them there, or what-have-you, to starvation under the scorching sun of the Sinai desert and denying to people to provide them with food and medical assistance is this not denying the humanity of the poor, the oppressed, and the landless? If this is not a crime against humanity, what else is? Whom is the ICC standing for then?
Thank God though, two feeble and exhausted women and a mere child had the courage to stand up and decry the injustice committed against the remaining 18 men refused entry in Israel. From the detention centre they had the audacity to reveal what people in authority and power tried to hide. A popular proverb in Eritrea says: “No way truth can be suppressed: if buried head-down it will sprout legs first.” A special mention deserve the representatives of the humanitarian NGO “We Are Refugees” for having responded promptly to the appeal of the unfortunate asylum seekers, having offered to assist and protect them, for following up the case and for sharing the information with the rest of the world.