20 June, 2014

Tell a different story: true heroes

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Category: European Action Day, Refugees' stories
Ruxandra Pandea
2 pm

Refugee Day

True Heroes

by  Jonas Prinzleve


Have you recently skipped through a newspaper articles talking about the thousands of refugees fleeing from Somalia, Sudan or Syria? Maybe you have watched images in the news of black men climbing European border fences like teeming ans. Maybe you have heard that your hometown is hosting refugees or you even know about somebody in your job, your school or among your friends who had to leave his or her country involuntarily.

If you ever find the bravery to engage in a personal conversation with someone who shares such a background, you will find that their stories are as multiple and diverse as they are mind-blowing. I am talking about stories of strength and backbone, stories of incredible achievements, stories of endurance and hope, stories of purpose. Stories that for me, I will bluntly admit provide a deep source of inspiration. Stories of real life heroes. Over the last few years, several people who share a refugee background in one way or the other have joined the circle of my closest friends. And sometimes I wonder why. Don’t be mistaken: despite the fact that people fled their country, they can be as different from each other as you and me. But I guess there must be something. Something which they share that I look up to, something invigorating.

How can my friend Fode from Mali laugh, dance and sing for the whole day if he feels like it? Why does Masfen from Ethiopia read my mood every time I see him better than I could ever? Why do I feel this subtle fascination every time I see Koné, a 19 year old boy from Guinea, who holds the most incredible life story that I have ever heard? And what is it that makes me feel so very

close to the world when I am with these friends?

It is a strong sense of purpose, which so often overwhelms me when being with people whose experien

ces, achievements and dreams reach from Karachi to Istanbul, from Damascus to Copenhagen and from villages in Afghanistan to Strasbourg. I agree:it depends on how you read their stories, which perspective you choose to take. But, for me, they mirror the essences that make a life: a longing, a dream and a journey. And unspeakable pain and a love that resists it. Experience that translates to inmost knowledge. And the full power of freedom. These days I am realizing the blessing that I received with my close friends, being my greatest heroes.


Refugee Day


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