One body of humanity - A blog by Canon Saro


For those who did not realize, the above strange characters are a Kurdish poem written by the famous poet Sherko Bekas and are about the homeland. Bekas spent most of his life far from his motherland Kurdistan of Iraq, in exile. Here, he complains that he did not ask for that much from his country, just a daily bread in a safe place, a peaceful life, love, and a bit of freedom; but was deprived of these basics, so he fled. Sadly, that is more or less the story of all refugees.

What would be the most legitimate reason to leave everything behind? Is it war, genocide, persecution, discrimination, or poverty? Sometimes it happens suddenly, like when missiles strike your home; sometimes, it may not happen in one night; pains and sufferings accumulate until you have it enough and are ready to leave everything to pursue just a hope or a dream. It is a familiar story, not just for people of developing countries but for everyone in different periods of history. It is the story of anyone who saw their beloved ones in danger, any tribe that found its land barren, any people in exile, or any oppressed and deprived who sought a better life. It is the story of the formation of countries. It is the story of humankind surviving, the story of our ancestors. It is the story of legends, heroes, religious leaders, and God our saviour Jesus Christ who once was a refugee in Egypt. It is the same old story repeating again and again. Each time it happens to people in one corner of this world and it is up to people of the other parts to respond.

What is the first thing that comes to our mind when we see an asylum seeker? Do we see an alien, someone who is not like us, someone who wants to take advantage of our hard work, or simply a human being in his/her circumstances? There is a lot to deal with; the economy, our jobs, our traditions, our social classifications, prejudices, unconscious bias, etc. All of them affect our judgments and decisions, but what about humanity? Not just as a general concept to be praised in words, but as an actual physical body that suffers altogether when a part of it is injured.

More than 700 years ago, the great Persian poet Saadi Shirazi said:

“Man’s sons are parts of one reality

Since all have sprung from one identity;

If one part of a body’s hurt, the rest

Cannot remain unmoved and undistressed;

If you’re not touched by others’ pain, the name

Of “man” is one you cannot rightly claim.”

Translated by Dick Davis

Today we are, or at least we claim that we are much better than in the past, much more advanced, with a much deeper understanding of the sophisticated human psychology and its feelings. Apparently, we understand more about this world’s complications and the bonds between its different components. Every single field of human science has been the subject of long-term study and scholarship, and we have thousands of discoveries, novel ideas, and theories about every single phenomenon. Despite all these, many of us fail to conceive the simple concept of the Saadi’s words.

If we really accept that we are all parts of one body, there will not be any question of accepting or rejecting other human beings in their very basic needs. Our body parts do not have such an option. It does not make sense.

We are always proud of our ancestors’ achievements, but have we ever truly understood their possible negative impacts in the current world? Or are we ready to do something about it? The refugee crisis is not limited to one part of the world or one part of history. We have to understand the domino effects of our local actions in the bigger world and the time. It is easy to reject those in need and send them far away. But when we see that “one reality” that Saadi was talking about, we feel the refugees’ agony, anguish, and pain like ours because the parts of one body cannot rest when the others are in pain. It just does not make sense.

God bless you