Live Fear or Love

20150805-LESBOS-slide-ZG91-articleLargeby Monika Bernegg & Tanis Helliwell

What we are seeing in the world with the refugee crisis and the reasons behind it are two choices that each of us face. Do we wish to lead lives from Fear or Love?

Refugees are pounding at the doors of Europe…

Thousands and thousands of refugees are fleeing their home countries and trying to reach safety in Europe. Parents with their children, minors on their own, young men from all over Africa, Lybia, Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Irak, Kossovo, etc. are running from war, destruction and hopelessness, leaving behind everything they once called their own: a home, a job, friends and family, security.

And Europe? Europe is divided. For so long already Greece and Italy had to struggle with all those coming across the Mediterranean Sea, thousands of them finding their death already in this crossing. And Greece and Italy had been left alone in dealing with the surviving, as the rest of Europe at the beginning tried to bury their heads in the sand.

Now this is not possible any more. There is no end to the masses of people that are moving from Greece through the Balkan countries towards Austria, Germany and further into Europe, as we could see during the last weeks, there is nothing that can stop this stream. When one border gets closed, the current is seeking another place to get through. People are on their way too long already, have crossed too many countries, too much endured to give up now – and there is nothing to go back to: no house, no work, no safety, no future.

And all of us have to face this reality: How do we want to treat refugees? Do we want to erect even more and higher fences; enforce police presence; stand by and watch refugee – shelters being burnt down, etc., etc.?

So many people in so many countries have shown during the last weeks that they want to take another road: they went to the railway stations, to the open places, to the roadside and brought food and water, helped to build shelters, brought medical care or sent parcels with shoes and clothing, or gave money.

Now we all need to help bring by shorter asylum procedures, enabling people to find work, to learn the language, all the things that make it possible to really become integrated into the new society.

And of course we need a joint course of action, all countries of Europe are called to accept refugees and treat them humanely – according to the European Convention of Human Rights and the Christian values they all uphold. And of course we need to face the questions, in which way all of us are involved in the causes, why people are leaving their home, in which way the so called “developed” countries (and that’s not only the European ones!) with their economic and financial policies have contributed to this mass exodus.

In reality there are no borders, no separation – this is an illusion. We are one humanity, we live on one planet. We are one. What happens to the others is happening to us – even if we do not always realize that in the same moment.

And what about Canada and the United States?

In Canada, just before a major election the refugee crisis accompanies the issues of the environment, health care, and the economy as one of the top priorities discussed by our major political parties. How many refugees will Canada accept? 10,000 say the Conservatives, but only if we are elected. 40,000 state both the Liberal and New Democratic parties. But how easy is it to bring refugees to Canada? There are many agencies, small groups and private individuals who wish to help and can raise the $38,000 needed to bring a family of four to Canada, but the paperwork demanded by the ruling conservative government is daunting and many people cannot find their way through it.

Governments, including those of Canada and the US, often make rules to keep out refugees for the fear that their own people will lose jobs, and that they lack the infrastructure to absorb refugees who come without money, not speaking the language, and sometimes with few skills and ill. This is a position of fear rather than seeing that it is often the same government’s policies that have created the problems in the refugees’ countries. This can happen through economic policies and religious intolerance that have created the conditions that create war and violence.

Often refugees wish to succeed in their new country and work longer hours and in jobs that the local inhabitants shun and thereby create a higher standard for locals. This is great as it adds to the marketability of the new countries products. BUT it upsets the status quo and fear of change is very common for many people. It is essential to focus on what we might gain both for our country and also as an individual from helping those less fortunate than us. Fear focuses on loss and constricts us and love expands us and through love we become a better human being. Also, love ultimately leads to world peace and the end of the situations that create refugees.

It is essential that we live our life from a place of love and not fear. To do so, will eradicate the problems we face at the source. I have created a Fear Transformed course to help you do that. I hope you will join us and the many others who wish to lead lives of love.

Register for the full course now:

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