Day 7: A Letter to a Stranger

Dear Devastated Family From Iran,

I was driving in my car tonight when I heard the news. Your child was one of at least 8 people who drowned in a failed attempt to reach Australia from Indonesia. I heard you trying to tell us about him, about how he was special and wonderful and treasured, but your voice kept breaking under the weight of your grief. It was as if each word that left you wasn’t clear, or accurate or enough to tell us who he was. He was your everything, he was your history and your future. He was your reason to keep fighting, keep walking and keep hoping that your life could be better – had to be better. He deserved that much at least, you gave everything to try and give him that chance.

As I was driving I couldn’t help but wonder if you’d had second thoughts before you got on that tiny unseaworthy boat. If you saw the other 65 passengers and had a moment of doubt about your choice. Perhaps you had been forced to take similar risks on your journey to  even get that far, or was where you were running from so terrifying that the danger of the sea voyage paled in comparison? Was there no risk too great to take in your quest for freedom? Now instead you are held prisoner by grief.

I don’t know why I was chosen to be born in this great country, in a place where  voicing an opinion contrary to those who rule will not involve risking death. I can’t explain to you why I am sitting here in my comfortable, safe home, while you are in a hospital across the ocean nursing a wound no parent should have to bear. Our media often tries to make us feel angry about people trying to gain illegal entry onto our shores. As if you are cheating, or trying to steal something that belongs to us. Yet as I write this letter to you, I don’t feel angry or cheated because you tried to come here through the back door. I feel conflicted. I understand why we have the legal processes in place to control the population blah blah blah… However I cannot say that if I were in your shoes – if I were so desperate to escape persecution and bondage, I can’t say that I wouldn’t risk everything to give my boys the chance to live in freedom.

So tonight I am praying for you, I am praying that in the depths of your despair you will be comforted. I will pray for those like you, those trapped in a life without freedom or escape. I will not allow my heart to become hardened against the humanity of your situation, anesthetised by physical, geographical and political distance. I will not let the media sanitise the reality of your tragedy. To do so, would be to allow yet another crime be exercised against you.

As you cry tonight for your child, know that you do not cry alone. Know that your cries do not go unheard. Know that someone else cries with you.



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Natalie Giddings
    Nov 03, 2011 @ 12:49:06

    Well said!


  2. Marilyn Hunter
    Nov 04, 2011 @ 08:30:42

    Dear Amelia, Your heart is such a reflection of God’s. Love Marilyn


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