The Existential: Literacies of the Refugee

Source: Climate Refugees.

by LJ Frank


“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.” Thomas à Kempis, De Imitatione Christi. Bk. 1, Ch. 16, Sec 2. (1420)

The United Nations exists for the sake of all humanity which in turn strives to survive and live in harmony on a planet that is under siege.

The UN reports show there are over 800,000 people facing death from starvation and even more from disease and infections. That number will increase in the near future if statistical data is accurate and climate migration and hunger continue to rise – adding to the numbers of refugees.

Avarice feeds the belly and extravagance of the wealthy and powerful. How much of human suffering is a product of another’s spoils? And how many humans have merely become a product of the world market?

The literacies of truth and trust in institutions, from government to mega-corporations, politics, judicial and patriotic organizations are uncertain and appear diverted through disinformation and misinformation within an artificially and naturally conflicted world.

It’s not uncommon to hear conversations about when artificial intelligence will replace the crowds of impoverished, and serve those who can afford the cost. It appears we are in the midst of the first act as if we were part of some drama and or comedy not of a personal choosing. And at some point will human ingenuity in an attempt at reform, program the artificial intelligence to have the capacity to reason including employing common sense and a structure of beliefs? But what will those beliefs be?

Falling into the event status of homelessness and that of being a refugee in one’s country of birth is a volatile recipe for the survival of family and individual  integrity

Self-worth and dignity come with livable wages and meaningful work and institutions that support a person’s worth. Becoming a refugee in your own city breeds anger and amorality. The sense of hopelessness in the world is real. Despair is a pillow that rising numbers sleep on each night. The consequence is estrangement, escape and or self-destruction.  Revolt is a political tool birthed from desperation.

How shall those with the power to effectuate change do so for the well-being of others? Consuming and competing are the fast foods of “isms” in a world in want of the literacies of self-respect and support. Pro-life doesn’t end with pro-birth.

Power and extreme wealth are the merciless goals for the merchants of want and greed, though these same merchants may find they are drowning in the forgotten cleansing waters called “know thyself”.

And…alongside a dirt road a hundred kilometers or more outside the edges of the sprawling city of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia a mother and child were found dead from starvation with dirt and dry roots of plants protruding from their mouths. And in a village nearby a man was espousing his beliefs about love, hope, and community. One wonders if he paused to consider the meaning of such words to an emotionally and physically dying individual in the prison-like environment of injustice.

Hunger grows asking not for charity but rather justice…for the hungry person may find nutrition in an idea that gives her or him hope to continue the struggle to exist until the moment their body fails.