02 December 2010

First They Came. . .

I've been thinking a lot recently, especially about why I want to do what I want to do, which is to work with refugee communities.  As I was pondering my motivations, I remembered this poem by Holocaust survivor Pastor Martin Niemöller:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

I started thinking about what Niemöller was communicating: we're all in this together, and we need to support and stick-up for each other, even when we otherwise might not be directly involved.  At the very least, we should do this because we will encounter times in our lives when we'll need someone to support us.  At the most we should do it because compassion is the one redeeming quality of humanity.

So maybe I'm interested in working with refugees because I hope that my actions will in some way help to offset the horrible things that sometimes happen in our world.  Maybe I'm doing it because I'm selfish, and I think my actions will somehow offer me security if I ever experience disaster.  Maybe I hope to join the group of voices speaking out against injustice.  Maybe it's all of the above.  Maybe it's none of the above.

Anyway, I've just been thinking a lot recently.

No comments:

Post a Comment