A friend and work colleague here at Crossroads always ends his emails with this thought provoking phrase: numbers have faces and faces have names. Statistics are informative, but by their very nature can dis-enable us from seeing the faces of the people which make them up -or hearing the voices of those whose voices are not heard. Not being overly fond of numbers, I tend not to be drawn to graphs and columns, but THESE figures have made me think…
Since 1996 over 2 million refugees have fled Burma and sought refuge in the camps on the Thai Burma border.
There are over 1 million Internally Displaced People (IDPs) hiding in the Burma jungles from the military dictatorship of the Burma Army.
Nearly 4 million Iraqis have been displaced by sectarian cleansing, violence and kidnap. 2 million have fled into neighboring Syria and Jordan.
A quarter of Zimbabwe’s population of 12 million have fled to neighboring countries in the last several years. In 2007 more than 7,000 Zimbabweans applied for refugee status in South Africa.
The UN has stated that more than 240,000 Darfurians have been newly displaced, or have been re- displaced, in 2007, as violence in refugee camps increases.
And what is the difference between me and a refugee? Only circumstances!