A historic moment was made in this years Rio Olympics that we never knew was coming.. A new team was born into the long line of talented athletes that have made us all (well me at least) stop and think. My heart was smiling when I heard of the new Refugee Olympic Team, it really was. But it also brought something to my attention, as I’m sure it did for millions of other people around the world.
There are now 21 million refugees around the globe. The statistics are growing at a rapid rate. So rapid that since the last Olympics only 4 short years ago, it has jumped by almost 10 million; a number that is completely unfathomable to me.
Around the world, there are millions and millions of people who want to shut their borders completely. Keep those ‘freeloaders’ out and basically let innocent people suffer, be tortured and potentially drown and die. People with social status’ are frequently seen remarking on the issues that we may face by letting outsiders live in our countries. Yes, I can understand the fear, but I am yet to understand the lack of compassion?
Until the 2016 Olympic games, I can 100% tell you that I had not spared a second of my thoughts to think about the amazing athletes who had fled their country, families and homes. That is the honest truth, and I’m sure more than one of you reading this were oblivious to the facts too.
There are people who are fleeing from war, terror, destruction and heartbreak that I couldn’t imagine the worst of my enemies living with. So what are we doing about it? We’re sending them back or locking them out due to a ‘stereotype’ that their nationality or religion has unfortunately given them.
So, why are we so proud of the actions that have been taken in the 2016 Rio Olympics? Well, someone with power finally stood up and thought about all the innocent people; the people who have fewer privileges than the those who have a home. Someone stood up and said.. “what about the talented people living without a flag to their name”?
But, what about the fact that ‘refugees’ even have the ability to obtain their own team? Unfortunately, that is the entire problem in itself. There are that many people left without a home that their status is now officially permanent. The fact they don’t have a flag to their name has given birth to a new team of people into a century of historic games.
Until this day I honestly thought that nothing would be done about this global problem. I thought that until the day I died, the ‘privileged’ countries around the world would continue to be selfish, un-sociable and frightened of the potential risks. Thank goodness I was wrong, I finally see a small shine of hope!
This is not the be all and end all of the global refugee crisis, it’s so very far from it. But what it has thankfully done, is show the people around the world that we are choosing to avoid and ignore an issue that is slipping so far out of our hands.
I really do think it has made history. Not only because of the change in this global event but because it has made us really think about the people that are suffering. It is pulling the average joe out of the idea that refugees are going to cause harm, destruction and division. Because let’s face it, it’s just not always true. There are people who are desperate to live a normal life, to have a roof over their head and to simply show their skills at the Olympics.
What this team has done is show the single-minded people of today’s society that we all want the same things in life. We want to do the things we love, we want to show our talents and we want to be successful.. no matter our nationality or the way life has been thrown our way. It has given these innocent people a glimmer of hope and acceptance into a society that was choosing to avoid them.
And for us? Well, it has brought the issue right up to our xenophobic noses.
It has shown us that the refugee crisis is real. There are 21 million people in the world that have no flag to their name, and now they have an Olympic team to prove it.