August 28, 2015


Leaving home has never been easy. So imagine the plight that takes people from the arid climes to homeless living on frosty Scandinavian streets.

This week in Stockholm was a peek into the brewing migrant crisis. There were conversations around growing local consternation and floating empathy for illegal immigrants from the fragile worlds of Middle East and the Balkans.

A middle aged man, possibly a father, sitting on the pavement with a wry defeated smile. An elderly headscrafed women seeking alms with defiant hope.  These vignettes brought poignancy to fashionable streets where people walk briskly into their languid lives.

Then came soul crushing front page images in today’s International¬†New York Times of a little boy seperated from his migrant parents amidst police action on Macedonia border. The Wall Street Journal captured pictures of Syrian refugees breaching fenced borders in Hungary as police waited on them.


Prosperous European nations like Germany, Sweden and UK, also with some of the best social welfare schemes, is grappling waves of refugees fleeing economic distress and crusading fundamentalists. Europe has witnessed surging right wing nationalism, possibly the most threatening since WWII, as a backlash to these pouring immigrants.

German chancellor Angela Merkel was booed by ultra nationalists as she visited refugee centres earlier this week. “There is no tolerance toward those who question the dignity of other people. The more people make it clear… the stronger we will be,” she was quoted in WSJ. Some grace it was.

People leaving homes in search of elusive hope is a cruel predicament. A reminder of the volatile living. As Murakami said, “be kind, life is more fragile than we think”.

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