Tin tức thế giới nhắc đến một thảm trạng cho người dân tỵ nạn nước Syria. Tôi xem vài YouTube videos và sẽ tìm hiểu thêm về vấn đề này. Nhìn hình ảnh trại tỵ nạn, những trẻ em, những ánh mắt quen quen, tôi được nhắc nhở mình từng sống trong hoàn cảnh tương tợ, từng có đôi mắt như vậy. Thời vượt biển 1978, rồi 1 năm sống tại trại tỵ nạn Songkhla, rồi vài tháng Bangkok, tôi vẫn còn vài ấn tượng khó quên. Nhưng không tệ như người Syrian refugees bây giờ, tình trạng khắc nghiệt, thê thảm hơn. Google image tìm hình, tôi nhận ra những cảnh quen trại Songkhla thưở xưa, bãi biển mà mẹ tôi nhận lễ báp-têm Tin Lành, ngôi trường / nhà thờ tôi nhận lễ rửa tội Công giáo. Tôi nhớ mình có nhiều hình, nhưng có lẽ vứt hết rồi, còn sót lại mấy tấm.
Xin cầu nguyện nhân loại bình an, và một ngày nào không còn danh từ refugee, tỵ nạn nữa.
HÌNH GIA ĐÌNH ở TRẠI TỴ NẠN SONGKHLA, THÁI LAN 1978
The United Nations has predicted almost a quarter of all Syrians will be forced to flee their country by the end of 2014 as a result of the escalating civil war.
Some 3.2 million Syrians are expected to be registered as refugees by the end of 2013, with that figure rising to more than 5.2 million next year, according a recent meeting of U.N. agencies.
In addition, some 6.5 million people could be internally displaced by the end of 2014.
According to these projections, by the end of 2014 more than half of Syria’s pre-war population of 22.5 million will have either fled the country or been internally displaced. More people will have been displaced — some 11.7 million — than live in the state of Ohio.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told the meeting that Syria is set to see an “escalation of the conflict with increased fragmentation, disruption of essential services and further erosion of coping mechanisms,” according to a summary posted Thursday on the website of the U.N.’s refugee agency, the UNHCR.
The OCHA also warned that 8.4 million people would be “in need” by December next year — a 37 percent increase from now — and that this would create “increased security threats to humanitarian workers and continued access constraints.”
Last month, the number of people forced out of Syria passed the two million mark, the U.N. announced.
The Associated Press highlighted the appalling living conditions faced by these refugees in a photo essay last week.
This included an interview with one woman, Fatima, who had fled with her seven children to ruins in northern Syria. She said they lacked food, shelter and medicine, comparing the conditions to “like living in ancient times.”
The U.N. says more than 100,000 people have been killed in the civil war, which broke out in March 2011.
Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for the UNHCR, said the organization was still working on its estimates for 2014 and would release these in December this year. The projections discussed at the Sept. 26 meeting were a tool for calculating these estimates, Edwards said.
The meeting included 10 U.N. agencies, the International Organization for Migration and 18 non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
According to UNHCR data, Lebanon currently hosts the most Syrian refugees, with some 780,000, followed by more than 535,000 in Jordan and 500,000 in Turkey. There are significant numbers also in Egypt and Iraq. Europe and North Africa will see more of these refugees through 2014, the meeting summary said.
Since the alleged chemical attack by government forces in Damascus on Aug. 21, international diplomacy has been focused on the chemical weapons arsenal of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The U.S. and Russia have come to an agreement through the U.N. to destroy Assad’s chemical weapons, a process which began Monday.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told a news conference in Indonesia on Monday the destruction was a “good beginning” and said Washington and Moscow had agreed to press the U.N. to set a date for a Syria peace conference in November.
Comment from BachPhi, April 25, 2015:
This paper is written by me some time ago. It is now dedicated to the all BOAT PEOPLE and to commemorate the 40th year since South Vietnam fell to the brutal of communism.
March 12, 1985
OH, FREEDOM! OH, VIOLENCE!
Have you ever been the victim of a crime? I have been the victim of one of the century’s major crimes. I have seen robbery, murder, kidnapping and rape. The following is a true story: a lament with the blood and tears of our miserable Vietnamese exiles who have been seeking and buying their freedom. Many of them have had to pay with their own lives in the their ocean crossings…
We left Vietnam on a dark night in June 1981 in a small boat. The boat had originally been used for off-shore fishing, but of course not for crossing the ocean. We were a total of twelve people, a married couple with a one-year old baby, a mother with an eleven-year old girl, and the rest of us were young men. On the first morning, we were all happy to escape. We had finally succeeded after many failures and long imprisonments. We talked of freedom and a better life that would be ours in another country. We bravely challenged the vast ocean, although we were threatened with starvation, thirst, drowning and deadth. Many of us had been saying to ourselves that we would rather be dead in the ocean than alive under the yoke of communism.
On the second night at sea, the ocean became very rough; wave roared up as high as the roof of a house. Some of us were were seasick; water almost flooded the boat. Some of us bailed water hopelessly, some were in a state of lassitude, not caring about what was happening.
Finally, day dawned. A boat suddendly appeared on the horizon. Oh , our savior was coming! We could see the boat clearly; some men were standing in the bow of the boat. They were holding something in their hands; it looked like a gun. There was something wrong, I thought. The boat did not slow down. A gun shot went off, answering my question, warning us to stop. Thai’s pirates! The cold thought flashed through my mind quickly because I had heard of them in Vietnam. Five men jumped down into our boat, knives and guns in their hands. They were half-naked, well built with tattoos all over their arms and chests. They browbeat us in their strange language. One man of ours tried to communicate with them in English, then in French. This was useless. For his efforts, he received a blow to his face. The man fell back, blood came out of his mouth. One of the pirates walked over and snatched his watch. The tragedy had just begun!. They took our gold and jewelry, after beating us brutally, They then smashed the engine and left .
The boat drifted aimlessly.
Hours passed before we met another boat. Another gang of pirates came. They were disappointed because we did not have anything left for them to steal. They became angry. Again, they beat and kicked us, spinning us around like toys.
At that time, the baby cried out loudly. One of the pirates was upset. He pulled the baby out of the mother’s arms. The baby’s father bravely pulled him back. Bang! he was shot and fell down on the deck of the boat.
The baby now was in the pirate’s hands. I could never forget the horrid spectacle of the baby, whose body was torn in two parts, its fingers and toes , I remember, still vibrating, contracting and stretching out in the few seconds after its deadth.
Blood was all over. It was the most horrible thing I have had to witness in my life! We stared at each other horribly and motionlessly. The pirates roared with laughter like mad dogs. Later, they tied our boat to their boat and dragged us along behind them. Some of us had been robbed and murdered and now they were kidnapping the rest of us. What were their intentions?
A big ship came unexpectedly into view. We did not know what country it belonged to, but surely it mustn’t be Thais. We used a white shirt, waving for help. The ship changed its course and came toward our boat. Once more , happiness came back to us. This time they must be our real savior. The pirates seemed to be afraid. They immediately cut off the rope and sailed away.
Pitifully, our hope was soon over! The ship passed by; it did not stop to help us. We were so helpless. Later, we knew that they were afraid of the responsibility if they rescued us.
The pirates’s boat then came back. Again, they towed our boat behind them. The next day, we were brought to an uninhabited island. There, they began to play their games. Like beasts, they in turn raped the women, even the eleven-year-old girl on our boat; her mother cried crazily for her little suffering daughter, and we, the men, had to stand helplessly by under their guns.
They raped all the women and then left.
Days passed slowly. One after another, gangs came and left. Every time, they brought a little food and water for us, just enough to live from day to day. They also brought a couple of new groups of women and men. The same thing happened to both groups. We had no way to fight back – the only weapon we had were crying and tear drops. Some girls died from exhaustion. Some remained virgins, committing suicide by cutting their tongues with their teeth so that they bled to death rather than submit to the pirates.
One day, we saw a Thai police patrol boat passing by. In a last hope, we signaled for help. They docked. We explained to the captain what had been happening. He promised that he would be back soon with help.
Day after day passed. We hadn’t heard or seen anything, except the gangs of pirates. Oh, God! Where were justice and humanity to one’s fellow men.
Days continued to pass silently and slowly. We were completely hopeless, living like moving corpses. I don’t know how much time had passed when one day, I heard the noises of a helicopter. It belonged to the agents of the United Nation High Commission of Refugees; On a mission, they were flying over and just by chance they saw us on this island. Oh! How happy we were! We thanked God for helping us out of that terrible hell.
Before long, we were transferred to a refugee camp in Thailand. There, we waited for resettlement in another country. The little eleven-year-old girl became insane, and her mother died. The mother of the baby also died. Some women now had become pregnant. Many of them wanted abortions, but could not because of their religious beliefs, but others did abort the unwanted pregnancies resulting from their rape by the pirates.
Oh! freedom! How blessed – but what a high price my people have had to pay!
Oh, freedom! How expensive you are!
Oh, violence! How human!