They came from all over. The room…
They came from all over. The room was teeming with people, sharing a meal together even though they had just met, smiling and laughing and sharing the bounty of humanity that unites us all (whether we choose to embrace it or not). Wende and I sat at a table with a newly arrived refugee from Ethiopia and his 6 year old daughter. He fled persecution in his homeland 14 years ago, and lived in the destitute UNHCR camp of Dadaab until coming to America; the tent city in northern Kenya was the only home his daughter knew until 1 month ago. Joining us at the table was another woman, another refugee, hailing from Eritrea, a long time enemy of Ethiopia, each nation jointly responsible for the suffering of each other’s people. But, here these two met not as enemies, but as new fast friends with a shared history and an intertwined future.
Around the room, the horrors of war and persecution and the abject nastiness of humans was washed away by a tide of togetherness – fueled by compassion – that brought smiles to the faces of men, women, and children from Syria, the DRC, Rwanda, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine, and countless other places across the globe. Also there, sharing and loving and laughing as we were, were hundreds of Americans of all ilks – white and brown and black, Greek Orthodox and Catholic and Muslim, agnostic and atheist – welcoming the newest Americans to a great place and people and country.
Through the joy, however, invaded sad thoughts for me… thoughts of the profound injustices done by humans to humans worldwide. Thoughts of ignorant and spineless white nationalists giving Nazi salutes in our nation’s capital two days prior. Thoughts of the brutality and hypocrisy of the fighting against protesters at Standing Rock. Thoughts of our nation’s deep and sickening battle with internal forces of racism and hatred and selfish actions. Thoughts of Selma and Standing Rock, Khartoum and Kigali, the Killing Fields and the concentration camps and the internment camps… [more in comments] #thanksgiving #liveyouradventure