Doaa and the Baby
I caught the tail end of Melissa Fleming’s TedTalk about an overloaded ship carrying more than 500 refugees, and a young woman who becomes an unlikely hero. This story is an incredible story, an important story…a story that binds us together as members of the same species at the deepest level possible! It is a true story…one that happened not that long ago in the terrible wake of the ongoing refugee crisis due to unending conflict in Syria and the greed that infects men’s hearts who see the people fleeing this war as an opportunity to make money. It is a horrifying story…and it is a story within a greater story…the one we all are telling about the fate of our Earth…for what happened to Doaa is happening to all of us on a global level. Every person alive today is riding in the rickety boat called Earth, and it is rickety for as a species we have become so hopelessly divided that the right is rising up against the left and the left is rising up against the right. We are the same species, but truth, justice, human dignity, democracy around the world are more vulnerable than they have been…perhaps since the last time the world was united in global misery at the outbreak of WWI. It is 100 years ago this year since the United States entered that war (1917), making that conflict indeed worldwide as the entrance of the U.S. was a hopeful sign the forces for good were rising in response to the forces that were tipping the world into misery and despair and unleashing terrible new tools of war such as gas warfare. Of course, we know less than 30 years later the world would be united again in global misery and another battle between the forces seeking to divide and the forces seeking to restore peace and freedom would rage again in WWII and unleash even more terrifying tools of war–the atomic bomb. Now, we are here in 2017–100 years since the world was first united in common misery and in countless individual acts of courage to restore peace and balance. Perhaps this is a timeless battle between the forces of good vs. evil but one that has reached levels that threaten the stability of the entire planet. So do we now stand at another moment in time when the forces of evil are on the rise (e.g., greed, lies, power over others, control, rage at otherness), and we must unite in collective action to rise as a counterforce of justice, truth, compassion, and the worth of a single human life and its dignity? In the wake of Trump’s election, in surges of white supremacy around the world, in rising acts of terrorism worldwide, acts of on-going racism, acts of cruel inequality in just about every way imaginable, it seems we are fracturing the integrity of our little rickety boat (Earth) in new and terrifying ways that threaten to tip it over and topple our common good and our future into perilous waters where rescue is improbable.
In the story Melissa Fleming shares about Doaa, she is a refugee fleeing the horrors of the Syrian crisis. I did not hear the whole story, but I came in at the part where the boat she and her husband or boyfriend had gotten on to escape Syria and horrible men rammed their boat and tipped it over killing more than 300 people below deck instantly and leaving the few survivors who managed to float to the surface and find life vests to float aimlessly without hope for rescue. Doaa watched as day turned to night, turned to day four times, as survivor after survivor gave up and drowning, including her beloved. A mother came to her and gave Doaa her infant asking her to care for the baby for she would not survive…somehow Doaa survived 4 days at sea with the baby and was rescued and resettled in Sweden.
Melissa talks about how the refugees’ crisis and centers are opportunities for each of us to step in a support and retrain the people who have risked everything to survive. They know better than anyone the warning signs of aggression, oppression, violence…and by helping them survive and thrive and find new lives…we are helping people who can save us from ourselves…they can see and help us heal from these terrible narratives and forces that are splitting the world into tiny little fragments where only those on top are suitable to survive.
If we keep going on this way, the planet (our collective life boat) is not going to survive. It is going to be rammed and tipped over just like Doaa’s boat was…and who will recuse us once we go over the edge of sustainability essential for life on Earth to survive?
We must protect the refugees…and we must do more than protect them…as Melissa says…we must ensure they thrive…and by doing this…we will grow our own inner resources and ability to response to crisis with compassion, and we can collectively heal all the other divisions (one by one if needed…or all at once — I believe it’s possible)…but we will not know unless we respond with our hearts and reach for the higher aspects inside ourselves — truth, justice, human dignity, wisdom — all that we are mobilizing around in the wake of Trump’s election, in the wake of the Syrian crisis, in the wake of Russian aggression and hacking, in the wake of N. Korea…all of this is connected and the key is us…our inner capacity to care and to hear the cries of those in need (for any cause) and to respond with compassion, love, truth, justice…we must…our very survival depends on it now!
From TedTalk: Melissa Fleming at TEDxThessaloniki
Aboard an overloaded ship carrying more than 500 refugees, a young woman becomes an unlikely hero. This single, powerful story, told by Melissa Fleming of the UN’s refugee agency, gives a human face to the sheer numbers of human beings trying to escape to better lives … as the refugee ships keep coming … https://www.ted.com/talks/melissa_fleming_a_boat_carrying_500_refugees_sunk_at_sea_the_story_of_two_survivors#t-2743