Thoughts for a refugee friend escaping to freedom

Thoughts for a gay refugee friend who left Nairobi today for resettlement in Canada:

By now, my dear, you will have crossed western Africa on your flight to North America. You have left many struggling comrades behind; but many hopes rose with you on that plane, and will follow you to Vancouver. Thirty years ago I stood in downtown there, looked across the bay, and saw a ski lift on the mountain north of the city. Enjoy the beauty of your new home. As you settle in, I trust you will finally get the medical care you have lacked for injuries suffered in an attack by Kenyan police. In contrast, Prime Minister Trudeau marched in Toronto’s Pride parade on Sunday. Imagine the differences that signifies!

I expect your joy and excitement are mixed with sadness for those still in Nairobi and Kakuma camp waiting for their chance and facing hostility from the host population. You will want to help them as you can. As with our small band of Westerners who have advocated for them, what they need most is your voice raised on their behalf. They will be happy, though, to receive updates on your new life in a freer and safer land.

Like those of us who survived the worst of the AIDS years, you may feel a twinge of guilt at having escaped when so many did not. That means you are human. Do not forget your comrades. Do help them as you can. There is so much work left to be done in so many places for all of our kind to live in justice and freedom. Most of all, live a good life. For all who have helped you, that is the best thanks you can give. You are the seed of our freedom in this world.

To life and joy!



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