How To Define a Refugee
CONTRIBUTOR: Claire Crossland Naujoks, TSOS Team Member
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the word refugee. A word that has crept into our media and minds more and more in recent years, a word that is loaded with connotations, a word that has been repeated and politicised until the meaning has almost become lost in the confusion of opinions and facts and fake news that surround it.
So let’s go back to those seven letters. Refugee. According to google, ‘a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution or natural disaster.' Things that I hope I never have to endure. Things that I know I would flee from. Things that may seem unimaginable to those of us safe and warm at home.
A refugee is just someone seeking refuge. And a refuge is a place to survive.
I’m sure we all know by now that there are record numbers of refugees in the world at the moment. All of them with a story, all of them fleeing, all of them survivors of experiences that have left scars, be they physical or mental.
And now let’s take a minute to think again about what the word refugee really means.
Someone seeking refuge.
Someone seeking life.
Someone just like you.
To me, the label “refugee” is a badge of honor. I invite you to honor and celebrate refugees and welcomers with me this month and to meet some of these heroes at TSOS's Virtual World Refugee Day event on 17 June.
As we strengthen our relationships with resettlement agencies, friends, and community partners, we are discovering that the work doesn't have to be big to be important.