Ordeals of the refugees

| Updated: March 13, 2022 22:18:46

Ordeals of the refugees

Among the community ordeals and uncertainties occurring around the world, the ones prompting forced displacement of people have been considered the worst. To put it colloquially, these people are 'refugees'. A few days into the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the panicky people from the assaulted country began fleeing their soil. The destination of all of them was the Ukraine-Poland border. Thanks to the tacit backing from the Ukrainian forces, over 2 million Ukrainians crossed the border. They have been sheltered, for now, in the temporary camps set up along the border. Against the backdrop of the long railway trips, days-long treks through unknown land strips, attacks of exhaustions and diseases, the border-bound journey emerged as one undertaken by refugees. On reaching the neighbouring Poland, the Ukrainians can now informally call themselves war-time refugees.

The term 'refugee' is no ordinary one. It carries a great volume of sighs and gagged dreams. Apart from the seizures of nostalgia for home, coupled with the impatient wait to go back to one's own country, the refugee life is filled with a series of woes. In spite of the warm hospitality at the country of refuge, with the passing of time rifts are seen growing on petty issues. In cases, the host country finds themselves being overwhelmed by the sheer number of people seeking shelter. The Polish authorities overseeing the Ukrainian refugee camps along the Polish border have extended their arm of generosity to the war victims from the neighbouring country. The trek of the refugees, now at initial stage, is feared to turn intractable. International efforts to defuse tension in the vast region comprising Russia and Ukraine are on. But a diplomatic faux pas or a military misstep might lead to a complicated situation.

It's true during their 1971 Liberation War, Bengalees in an astronomically high number migrated to India. They fled the genocidal occupation of East Bengal by the then Pakistan army. The Pakistani armed forces had let loose a cold-blooded pogrom on the innocent and unarmed Begalees. It resulted in the dreadful and risk-laden cross-border journey to the neighbouring Indian states of West Bengal. The Indian government welcomed the harried, panic-stricken and mostly penniless refugees with their limited resources initially. After the building of refugee camps organised services by local and international volunteers intensified. They were joined by the Bangladesh medical teams working on the war fronts. The refugees' stay in India had been feared to last for long. But the skilled manoeuvring of the 'Bangladesh crisis' by the Indian and the then Soviet Russian diplomats at the UN enhanced the case for the creation of the Bengalee state. In just nine months, the 1971 Liberation War reached its final stage, and in no time Bangladesh attained its independence. And the process of the refugees' return to their homeland started soon.

Perhaps Bangladesh's is one of the rare cases in which no complications arose over its refugees. Being comfortably well placed in the context of international diplomacy, Bangladeshis could boast of its ability to remain free of the scourge of refuge-seeking in other countries in the near future. On the contrary, the country has been playing host to the Rohingya refugees since long.

Despite being a moderately developed country, Ukraine has fallen on hard times. It resulted in a sudden shock for its people who are used to living a fulfilling life. They might not be able to absorb their multifarious shocks and get back to their earlier style of living as free citizens. This is a national tragedy. The refugees from low-income countries in regional wars can manage to cope with the adversities in other countries. But it might prove hard for people from a country like Ukraine.

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