20 June, 2014

It’s not a Choice. It’s SURVIVAL.

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Category: Asylum seekers, Country review, Discrimination, European Action Day, Opinion, Refugees
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PORTUWritten by Ana Rita Magalhaes (Portugal)

This article is an appeal to the good in each and every one of us. To help those who can’t help themselves and stand up for them are two of the principals I believe we should all live by.

Asylum seekers don’t choose to be in that condition, therefore we shouldn’t shut them out, just because we don’t share the same cultural and religious background.

They are forced to live in unimaginable situations, due to various reasons we don’t even conceive to experience in a life-time! To understand what refugees go through, we need to recognize their struggles as our own, this will be the only way to help them adjust to new realities.

They were ripped away from their homes, their families, their community, their country and most importantly forced to abandon everything they held as part of their identity.

So, if they already have to survive all of these challenges and still remain hopeful of a better life and keep striving to achieve it… Why can’t we give them the support we would like to receive in the same situation?

I want to believe the most important foundations, in life, such as kindness, empathy still have more weight than our fears against what we don’t know.

Our reluctance to accept asylum seekers in our nations reflects more on us, than on them. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the concerns people have, especially related to economic issues, unemployment and over population in their countries. Nevertheless, I also want to state we should and we have the power to take a stand on these issues, not only for the sake of our nations but particularly their nations, which need to be restored and capable to provide a safe and united environment, to their population, consequently eliminating international tensions, related to this matter.

Asylum seekers have the right to witness their countries be more, be better, be a future to their children.


We are destroying the chance of future generations, asylum seekers and refugees relatives, to build a culture and a nation of their own, as their parents and grandparents, because they won’t have their country, but they won’t have the sense of belonging in other either. Cultural and religious traditions will be lost in the inclusion process, causing a disruption between what they were taught and the world they live in. Ultimately, they won’t have a strong enough bond with their roots, to share them through other generations.

I want us to ask ourselves the following questions and reflect on them:

How would I react to losing everything I know and having to abandon my country?

What would I do to guarantee mine and my family’s survival?

What would I expect from people with power to help me?

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