Reaching for HOPE on World Refugee Day

June 20th, 2015  |  Published in Asylum; Refugees


Author E.B. White’s letter of hope to a man who had lost faith in humanity resonates on World Refugee Day (Saturday 20 June, 2015) at a stage in our history when restoring hope – in human rights for asylum seekers – is crucial for the collective psyche of all Australians; and, indeed, all humanity. The spirit of White’s letter holds clear and strong, even though written more than 40 years ago.
Dear Mr Nadeau/[members of humanity]
As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.
hope3Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society — things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.
Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.
E. B. White
With best wishes to all asylum seekers, refugees and their families, activists, advocates and supporters for a break in the clouds sooner rather than later. May your upright and compassionate friends, family and colleagues provide strength and courage in the meantime…Joan Beckwith.


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