should be obvious but it still seems some people don't want to understand it.
A lot of my working life has been spent working with people who work directly with people who are - or become - refugees. I have been told many stories about them.
I have also met many refugees and talked with them. Some of them were refugees in the far distant past and others are raw, new refugees.
The world is a terrifying place for a refugee. You have nowhere to call "home" if you are a refugee. You have few, if any, possessions. You can't go back to where "home" once was because you might get killed if you do or that place doesn't exist any more. There is no food for you. You are dependent on strangers for everything.
And you are, in all likelihood, homesick for the place you once called home.
You are not a healthy young man who has deliberately committed a criminal offence and who is now seeking to avoid punishment. You are not a healthy young man who is seeking work to "send money back home" or coming as the advance party in the hope that a family can migrate.
Migrants, even "economic migrants" (people who would simply like to move somewhere else for a "better way of life"), are not refugees. Migrants have choices. Refugees don't.
I can understand why some people want to migrate. I can understand why they are prepared to leave their place of birth and seek what they believe will be, and often is, a better way of life somewhere else. The country I live in was built on convict settlements and migration - yes, even those who call themselves "indigenous" or "first people" were migrants. Some of those migrants were refugees in other parts of the world who took the opportunity to migrate on invitation.Much of the world had been built on migration. Obviously it can be a good thing but migration is not the same as seeking refuge. We need to recognise and acknowledge that refugees are not simply healthy young men who are able to work. Refugees may be very old or very young. They may also be disabled, too traumatised to cope with life, angry and not always "grateful". They are simply human beings.
Refugees want somewhere "safe". They may have ideas that they would like to go to a specific country if the opportunity presents itself but their first desire is for a "safe" place. Refugees I know would have been prepared to go "anywhere safe" - or they will have been sent by their parents in a desperate attempt to save their lives and give them a future. It is sheer and utter desperation which makes you put your young child on a train or, even worse, an overcrowded boat and watch them go without you. It is why others will carry sleeping children for hours and why they will give their children the precious limited water to drink and go without themselves.
And yes, refugees are often homesick. They want to be surrounded by their language in a place where the laws and way of life is familiar, where they had a job and food on the table, where they had a home in which they could sleep at night without fear and where their children could go to school without risk of being attacked for doing so. Given the chance many of them would return to their countries of origin and work to rebuild the places from which they come.
We should all be doing more to support refugees. We need to give them food and shelter and the skills with which to support themselves. And we should also give them hope that they can one day go "home".