I can’t imagine being a refugee. To lose everything you’ve worked for, everyone you’ve ever loved, to take nothing with you except the sense of self you cling tightly onto, to arrive broken upon strange shores with worse to come. You’d have to be so, so strong to be a refugee.
And yet everywhere, my country included, doors are slammed shut, eyes are anxiously averted, hearts are turned to stone. This is today, where the mere mention of immigrants can break a country into two, much less refugees.
What happens tomorrow? When rising sea levels, extreme events, scorching heatwaves and drought-ridden wastelands drive throngs of decent, hard-working people to their last resort – to throw themselves upon our mercy as a climate refugee?
Here’s the remarkable story of how fishermen in Aceh made the bold choice to obey their hearts when a strange boat starting sinking off their shores. They disobeyed official warnings not to help and risked punishment to save strangers in dire need of rescue. Compelled by compassion, these fishermen have rescued over a thousand refugees.
We might feel powerless to stop the wars and violence driving people to become refugees today. But we each have the power to change the fate of future climate refugees, if only to save one life.
How will you change the future?
To find out more about Peumulia Jamee, find them on Facebook, here. Feature photo at the top: Minara draws boats she remembers from her perilous voyage to Aceh, Indonesia. She is a Rohingya refugee from Myanmar. Credit: Jade Han (one of the producers of Peumulia Jamee), “Past and Future”, 2015.