If you were ever forced to flee your home with your family, and I hope you NEVER find yourself in such a terrifying situation, and, let's say, by good luck, courage etc you actually made it to another country with very little on you, what would YOU want from the people, the country you found yourself in?
I asked this question in response to a comment somewhere in relation to displaced people, they were asking if a homeless person knocked on your door, would you be willing to feed, clothe and shelter them for the rest of your life. I went on:
My guess is you would want very little, may find yourself incredibly embarrassed to be in such a situation, but forced for your children's sake to take a hand out, accept help. Being a decent person, wouldn't you then, as absolutely as quickly as humanly possible, want to get back on your own feet, pay back those who so kindly helped you?
What has taught so many here in Australia that humans, that families are different at these most basic levels in different parts of the world? The media; institutionalised racism built into the fabric of this relatively young society; authoritarian, shaming parenting and education that has us looking around for ways to feel 'better than' others; unprocessed trauma that may have even occurred in past generations (the study of epigenetics provides evidence of this); classism; These are a few causes off the top of my head...there's bound to be more.
I had the good fortune as a child, the eldest of four, to travel overland through Europe and Asia, from England to Australia In a Land Rover (that's my parents next to it, looking across to Venice, 1975). When we had a car accident, it was the poorest villagers who came to our aid so that we weren't put in jail. When me and my sister almost drowned in India, it was a villager who lived in a mud hut who dived in and saved us, later pegging up to dry the few rupees he had on him at the time. His family also invited us to a meal in their hut on the beach...we were practically existing on only peanuts and bananas by then. They had so little but they shared it. When we were in Malaysia at Xmas with no money, all gone on the car accident, it was a family with 6 children already who took us in for a few days and treated us so well. I've experienced first hand what it means to treat others well when they're in difficult straits. I am so, so grateful to have had that perspective.
I wonder why it is that some end up mean-spirited and fearful of 'others who look different to me'. I mean, all of my friends are kind, open and willing to share what they have, without having to do an overland trip with near-death experiences to be that way! I doubt I would have been any less kind if I didn't have 30 years of emotional healing under my belt. Does it take much harsher traumas than I lived through to decide to shut down? I'm glad I have a 'bleeding heart' rather than a 'cold heart'. So much seems to be divided into these two camps; our politics, our daily interactions, our worldview etc. I outlined some reasons above such as racism, media, genetics, trauma etc but is it more than that? What is it that, at the most fundamental level, determines an open or a closed heart? I'd love to know your thoughts.