When I was three years old, my parents packed up their hopes and their dreams, waved good-bye to their family and friends and flew 25,000km to the other side of the world to start a new life.
It was a new life that promised hope and the chance to dream. A new life that promised a future that for my parents was quickly extinguishing back home. The new life also promised uncertainty, a life full of the unknown.
I do not remember the trip we took to come here. I have no memory of it at all. I cannot recollect the packing, the good byes or the travel. But I have photographs that remind me. Photographs of new dresses and a beaming smile. There is so much excitement looking back at me in those photographs, excitement in my parents’ eyes.
At the age of three I could not possibly understand the enormity of what we were doing. What it really meant. All I could do, all any child can do, is trust my parents. Trust that not only were they making the right decision, trust that the decision they were making was the best one for us.
The decision was the best one for us. We have a life here that I cherish. It is a life that I pray in gratitude for every single day.
You would have to be living in a bubble not to know what is happening overseas with the swelling sea of a refugee crisis. A crisis that I somehow feel has blanketed the world in sadness and maybe even clouded judgement.
I am not dismissing the complexity of the problem being faced overseas in this post. I am not naïve in the intricate and complicated issues there are for the problem to exist in the first place, nor why the world is heavy in its burden to find a solution. I do not have a magic solution, I do not think a click your fingers magic solution that so many of us toss around at dinner table conversations does exist.
But what does exist is the humanity. The humanity is at the core. My heart broke when I saw the images of the little three year old wash up on the shores of a Turkish beach. A little three year old who entrusted his life, his hopes and his dreams in the arms of his parents who I refuse to believe were doing anything but what they thought was best for their family. How could I not see myself in the limp body of that three year old? And see the stark difference in our journeys.
Yes my parents boarded a plane bound for Australia clutching approved paperwork and stamped visas: because they could, because they had that chance. What if they were in a situation where chance falls to the wayside and survival takes its place? What if I am in that situation one day clutching at my boys on the edge of a beach, fear in one hand and desperation in the other?
That is when humanity must triumph. Not in the name of the gods, not in the name of the guns and not in the names of the forces that be. Humanity must triumph above the adversity, above the egos and above the propaganda.
Borders do not start where countries end. Borders start in our hearts. We diligently build and protect those borders from the moment we are born. Borders that come from the experiences that mould, break and give us reason to define us. The borders that we use to justify who we are and what we do. Justify our decisions towards others, towards the world.
These borders patrol our lives, not only in our political outlook, but in our everyday lives. Our judgement of the ones we love, our friends, people we work with. It is no wonder then that these same borders judge complete strangers on the other side of the world.
If we were to stand exposed, stripped bare of our flag of entitlement and privilege, would we use these same borders to hide behind?
Humanity must exist without borders. The world is not derailing; the world has completely come off track. And while the solution for the world may be complex, difficult, enormous even; the solution is far simpler for us. It starts with each one of us. Humanity without borders, hearts without borders.