12 April 2007

Another 300

No, not the film, but another 300.

I must thank adloyada for this link to OnTheFace, it shows us how a sense of memory and shared humanity has helped some Darfurians, far away from their home:

Israel and Sudan are officially “enemies,” which makes the status of the 300 or so Darfur refugees in Israel very complex, because Israeli law does not permit the granting of asylum to citizens of enemy states. So when those refugees surrendered themselves to the Israeli authorities after crossing the border from Egypt, they were detained and jailed under the Law to Prevent Infiltration [from enemy states]. The stories of those jailed refugees, who had seen their families murdered and / or experienced horrible torture at the hands of the Janjaweed, were widely and sympathetically covered by the Israeli media, and many Israelis responded with horror: Given the all-too-fresh memory of what happened to the Jewish people during the Second World War, how could Israel fail to grant asylum to refugees fleeing genocide?

“Jeanine looked at me sternly. “Do you know what happened at the Evian Conference in 1938?” she asked. “When all the countries gathered to try to find a solution for the Jews of Germany and Austria but no-one was willing to give them refuge?”

Yes, I answered, of course.

“So that’s why,” answered Jeanine. “We knew that we had a moral obligation, after what happened to us.”

Did people mention that at the meeting? I asked.

“No,” said Jeanine. “They didn’t have to. It was understood.”

No comments: