June 20 was the World Refugee Day. Did anyone notice it? Despite being an Afghan refugee and a member of the largest single refugee group in the world, I didn't notice it come and go. Although I do not believe in the symbolic efficacy of the day, I do believe that if such days are marked properly with awareness programs, a real change can be brought about in the lives of refugees.
I believe that in an overwhelming number of cases, people become refugees when the profits of a multinational corporation are at stake or when a number of immoral, corrupt leaders play dirty politics on the international arena. However, I also strongly believe in the power of the collaborative strength of the human beings as an agent for real change. Therefore, when a day such as this is used to educate the general public and urge them to take action, it can have a real impact on the lives of the refugee population of the world.
The people, especially those of the first world, must know that by donating money to charities and/or feeling sorry at the plight of destitute people shown on their TV screens, no significant change can be brought about. Begging cannot be finished by giving money to beggars; it doesn't fulfill the beggar's consistent need for money and facilities. As the old Chinese saying goes: "Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”
Real change comes when the root causes are addressed. And when the root causes are corrupt politicians or corporate profits, the people must mobilize to fight them and strive to create an environment in which refugees are able to earn a subsistence.