The View from a Drawbridge

The random musings of a bridgetender with entirely too much time on her hands.

There is a lot about the International Olympics Committee that I don’t like, such as expecting some female athletes to wear skimpy clothing simply because they say so, and saying that the soul caps some swimmers need to wear are not allowed even though they give them no athletic advantage. These things show that the committee is out of touch with our current reality, and they should be ashamed of themselves.

But they did get one thing right, starting with the 2016 Olympics. They created an IOC Refugee Olympic Team. This allows athletic refugees who aren’t picked up by other countries to compete in the games as well. That’s as it should be. When someone becomes a refugee, it’s not their own fault. It’s forced upon them.

According to this article, one such athlete is Yusra Mardini, originally from Syria. She didn’t want to leave her home, but she wasn’t safe there due to the war. Even at her school she had experienced bombings.

She crossed the Mediterranean Sea with 20 other people in a broken-down inflatable boat that was only meant for seven passengers. She had to use her skills as a swimmer to survive that trip, jumping out of the boat and swimming beside it and dragging it along for 3 ½ hours. She managed to make it to Greece when so many other people die attempting to cross the Mediterranean.

Then she and her family had to spend the next 25 days walking across seven more countries until they found a home in Germany. Nobody does that for fun. Nobody should have to do that at all.

Yusra Mardini would like you to know, above all, that ultimately all refugees are seeking safety and opportunity. That’s all. Doesn’t every human being have a right to those things? How could anyone with a moral compass say no to that?

According to the UN High Commissioner for refugees, there are approximately 82.4 million forcibly displaced people in the world today. On a planet with 7.9 billion people, that’s about 1 percent of us. Surely we can help and absorb 1 percent of us. If not, there’s something seriously wrong with how we are living life.

Yusra Mardini

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