Politicians must answer refugees - GulfToday

Politicians must answer refugees

Shaadaab S. Bakht


Shaadaab S. Bakht, who worked for famous Indian dailies The Telegraph, The Pioneer, The Sentinel and wrote political commentaries for Tehelka.com, is Gulf Today’s Executive Editor.


Picture used for illustrative purpose only.

He goes to bed each night hoping for a better tomorrow, but lost bliss is like a plucked flower. He had a house where joy lived in the shape of a wife and some lovely children and where friends mixed freely and where feasts were relished like the first drop of rain in the barren patch of a farm. But one afternoon everything went up in flames. Utter disaster took over utter domestic pleasure after his house was bombed by soldiers who were supposed to protect him.

The bombers were apparently gunning for anti-government activists and his building happened to be in the line of fire. Left with no option he sought asylum in Europe, which he got. In other words, he became a refugee overnight, thanks to the politics of power in his country of birth.

They now live in a country where every day they wake up to hear that they are not wanted…

But his friend and neighbour, however, stayed on in the town. But things were fast reaching irreparable levels.

As the friend looked out of his window one afternoon he could see a rubble heap of houses that before the armed governmental action were throbbing dwellings, could see piles of arms in gardens where flowers were like an aesthete’s reverie and could see armoured vehicles on roads where the contented used to ply their vehicles.

Obviously, he didn’t want to continue in this hell-hole of a place because he didn’t know when his house too would have turned into a filthy pile and when his manicured courtyard would have stank of animal remains.

Therefore, he too sought asylum in Europe and degenerated into a refugee from a healthy citizen, thanks again to the politics of power.  

Everything for him and his friend were hunky dory till one morning demonstrations tore through cities, towns and villages. The rallies lit the fuse for a huge and long-drawn conflict over authority that ended domestic calm forever.

They now live in a country where every day they wake up to hear that they are not wanted, they are a threat to the nation’s peace and they are a burden on the country’s economy. At times because of their faith they face the danger of being interrogated even for terror attacks taking place hundreds of miles away. They could even be targeted sometimes for bloody attacks in other countries, ridiculous.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, rightly said the world’s nearly two billion Muslims are the embodiment of humanity, but they sometimes face intolerance and prejudice for no reason other than their faith.

The number of their countrymen, seeking asylum in 44 countries, has been racing upwards.  

They left the beauty of the gardens, the love of relatives, the company of neighbours and the flag, whose hues fashioned their identities, because those powered to look after their well-being were busy tightening their grip on authority and cruelly exploiting the government machinery at their disposal.

Well, one question every refugee asks himself probably daily is “Will I ever be able to return to my homeland?” The heart-wrenching question should be answered by our political leaders who are solely responsible for turning harmless citizens into refugees, a nomenclatural degradation everybody abhors.  

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