I had a dream last night. I was a young boy running away from war. I jumped into the water to escape the army. There were helicopters searching for me overhead. I swam along the shore to keep from drowning. The land's edge was my only safety.
There were guards along the fence who looked for me in the water. I had to duck my head beneath the surface. Sometimes I held my breath for only a few seconds, but other times I had to hold it so long that I wondered whether I should surface at all. I wondered whether I should let the air in my lungs collapse.
"Who would mourn for me? Who would care when I was gone?"
I arrived into a city's streets. They treated me like a rat. They tried to lure me with poison. I could see their plan so I hid from them.
I hid from them and instead traversed through the city's seams. I snuck under sewers and crawled through drains. I leapt through windows and climbed fences. The blood on my hands and sores on my face were there to prove it. They could not catch me, but I didn't really know where I was going.
No matter where I went, I knew someone was coming for me. The dark force in my past loomed above my soul. I could never forget what happened at home yet I could hardly remember. The darkness was so dense in my heart that it made me bleed to remember. So I pressed on—towards a future once promised to me by a friend: "There's a home for people like us. She's calling us, she's calling our names."
The dream faded in and out like the ebbs' tide along the shores of Greece.
I awoke and realized that this dream for me is a reality for others.
I awoke and remembered the faces of young Syrian boys without a family, without a home, without a chance in life to survive save their own will. I awoke and remembered the faces of so many who washed up lifeless onto the shore. These are the faces buried beneath the sands of our own ignorance. They are buried beneath our pride. They are buried beneath our laziness that causes us to do nothing amidst a world of suffering all around us.
Remembering The Promise
When I was 12 I made a promise to myself. I was in the seventh grade and our teacher assigned us to read the book Night by Elie Wiesel. I remember reading the book long into the night. I read it in just a few sittings. To this day I can feel the promise welling up in me as I read the scene which Elie paints this picture of a silent European countryside watching as trains of Jews pass by. There are little clouds of black smoke rising from the chimneys against a silent blue sky. The stench of the black smoke is unmistakeable. It is the stench of burning human flesh.
Yet train after train rolls by and still people do nothing.
I remember the rage that filled me as I promised myself that I wouldn't be like those people in Europe who stood there watching and did nothing. If there were anything like this to happen in my time I would do everything in my power to stop those trains of Jews heading to extermination. I would do everything that I could to help them.
After many months of running away from the crisis I finally confronted myself about the promise I made when I was twelve. It has been a slow journey but I have decided to dedicate the next chapter of my life to helping the refugee crisis. The path so far has been rocky and tumultuous. It has been difficult to find focus, but alas I feel like I am headed in the right direction.
As a response to my promise years ago, I've decided setup an organization called Solve The Refugee Crisis (STRC for short). I am running this organization full-time and working to create a community of digital workers collaborating to help solve the refugee crisis—one small problem at a time.
We need your help. If you are a skilled digital worker and want to help solve complex problems that have arisen amidst the crisis, please check out our website or drop me a line. If there are other ways you are looking to get involved, check out my post called Refugee Crisis: How to Help.
Bless you and thank you for reading.