She was born to extremely poor parents, in a country ravaged by war. Education was as much of an unattainable dream as was sufficient nutrition. Since the age of three, she was expected to participate in the house chores, and to help sustain the precarious construction her family called home. Not a morning came with breakfast on the table, and not an ounce of drinkable water was to be found in walking distance of where she spent her days and nights. Unaware of the very characteristics of a “normal” life, devoid of fear and hunger and despair, she saw her world as everyone’s reality. She did not perceive her situation as good or bad, for lack of comparison.

Or so she did, until her father started bringing out stories of the western lifestyle at the dining table. There she was, eating the perished bread provided by her role model, the very man who was telling her and her family tales of a “better world”, a world where bombings are inexistent and running water is the norm. And so she started dreaming, dreaming of what her life could have been had she been born in another place, at another time. And so she started feeling inadequate within her own community, as she was now painfully aware of the extreme nature of her situation.

Years passed by, and her father eventually accumulated enough money to flee the country in hope of a better future. The entire family was ecstatic: they would finally be able to settle in a clean house, with personal space for everyone. They could not wait to experience the feeling of safety that came from serenely walking in a park in the center of the city, to receive substantial monetary reward in recognition of their hard labor.

Their first attempt to cross the borders was a failure. Soldiers bluntly rejected them, asking for official documents they could only access as insiders of the country. Yet their willpower was fierce, and they decided to take the risk of crossing the border aboard a refugee boat. Nothing could be worse than the situation in which we are currently living, said the father to his wife as she was wide awake in the neighboring room.

Thus they all boarded the unstable engine; her brother, her parents and herself risked their lives for a better one. And they lost. On a dark and unsteady night, the unapologetic sea pushed the boat on its flank, and with it every single one of its passengers. Most had not learned how to read or write, let alone how to swim. The tragedy in itself was so unavoidable, and yet it could have been so easily eschewed were the soldiers at the origin border given different orders; were they told to screen the refugees and only allow inside the country those who showed no threat to the country, rather than blindly sending every single stranger back to their dark fate.

The refugee crisis is a delicate issue. On the one hand are stories such as the aforementioned one, unfortunately much too common in a world where human rights are often placed at the front most of international conferences. On the other hand are politicians and citizens scared of the potential risks that refugees could bring, leaders who put their people’s absolute safety before every other country’s combined suffering. Together, these facts point at the sad reality of today world, a divided land where fear precedes reason. I am voiceless when confronted to these issues. All I can do is spread awareness about them, for being a mindful sentient being is in any occurrence the first step toward becoming an active defender of world peace.