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Contrasts between Western and Third World living

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I’ve been watching the news on various stations. The similarities are striking, as are the differences. But I can hardly "stomach" watching all the displaced people, refugees, really, having to leave their homes, with so little of their own comforts, which are few already, on their journey to the unknown.

To the right, you will see a photo of a grocery cart fully loaded. But there are no groceries in it. It has piled up in it is a large group of songbooks headed to Sam’s Place, the Mennonite Central Committee’s bookstore in Elmwood.

Looking at that picture has made me wonder why we have so much here in Canada and how there is so little to carry when people in Third World countries have to move their place of abode. Often it is because of warring nations around them.

My cart in the photo contains one kind of song books: German hymns. There are no music books containing the classics — they could have filled another cart. We also did not plan to get rid of all the books we read for pleasure during our leisure time. Those, too, might have filled another cart.

You will notice that I have spoken only about books. It’s not so unusual to hire trucks or load train cars or even containers to facilitate moving our vast resources to another locale.
I come back again to another picture — that of the refugee. Travel is by foot. There’s no time to gather possessions, even some clothing or food. It’s just an agitated hurry. Get away! Run! Leave everything behind and move out of harm’s way.

Recently we have seen too, too much of this. And why is this so?

So many of countries are experiencing wars. The depiction of them on TV makes one wonder — will their problems really be solved by fighting? Are they expecting to accomplish any good thing? Do they realize what anguish innocent families are engulfed in?
It has occurred to me that if every war perpetrated or aided by Western countries was followed by an influx of millions of refugees to those Western countries, would they still aid and abet a war?

Is it naive of me to think that seeing these long lines of refugees in our own country would influence our legislators?

Bertha Klassen is a community correspondent for Elmwood.

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