What happens to the Next Generation of Refugees?
PART 7: Experiences of Children of Refugees Worldwide
A Series Written By of a Child of 2 German Jewish Refugees,
by Rick Landman - November 1, 2014
Parents have been forced to flee their homes and seek refuge even before Abraham sent Hagar and her son out into the desert. The Bible is full of people having to flee for their lives or of one group displacing another. Sadly, little has changed. I was so fortunate that America took my family in, as compared to others who are still living in limbo.
The major question that refugees must deal with is whether they will ever be able to return back home. What happens if their homeland no longer exists? In my case, America was so hospitable that there was no strong bond for me to return to Germany to live; but I could have. There is now a strong growing Jewish presence in the hometowns of my parents. But I choose not to.
Families who fled for environmental reasons such as nuclear meltdowns may never want to return to those areas, while people who flee for floods or earthquakes seem to go back and rebuild.
But if the next generation is growing up in limbo in a refugee camp for decades, with no future of prosperity, why shouldn't they dream of returning home to the past. Blowing up their neighborhood or keeping them in a legal limbo will just make it worse.
People can point fingers and often say that the refugees left on their own. They should have stayed to fight or kill others. None of this matters to the millions of second and third generation of refugees in Gaza. All they know is that they don't like living in a limbo. Their new surrounding countries didn't assimilate them for religious or political reasons, and now politics prevent them from having their own country.
One thing we should have learned from the Nazis, is that it isn't easy for the general population to shout out against the policies of their leaders, even if they were elected. In America, the majority never elected President Bush, yet we all went along with his idea of a war in Iraq. What can the average person in Gaza do? They can't go home, Egypt and Jordan didn't want them, and their elected leaders just the struggle to fester.
Society-at-large or the United Nations must come up with a policy on how to deal with reparations to refugees and how to prevent ethnic cleansing in the first place. In America and Europe we have come a long way to reducing religious hatred and the main reasons why one group pushes out another. Normalization of selling and buying property not under duress is so much better than forcible ethnic cleansing.
But as long as religions or nationalism are used to suppress minorities and war erupts, we will be having refugee situations. To me the only solution is to either have the world demand that the country pay restitution for the property of refugees or give funds to the land of refuge to assimilate the new comers. Of course, as an American, I wish that minorities were protected in all countries, so that these wars become unnecessary in the first place. If we just ignore this we will have a situation like in Gaza, where pain festers for generations and the young only dream of returning home.