A UAE newspaper has said that as 2017 moves inextricably towards a close, it’s worth remembering now, as we contemplate the advent of New Year celebrations, that there are millions who are less fortunate than many of us.
In an editorial on Wednesday, Gulf News said, "And as it stands now, more than 22 million people live as refugees around the world. That’s a stunning figure, one that would make up for a nation that would be in the top 50 most-populated countries in the world.
The paper went on to say, "The reality is that these 22 million are people without homes, with little left but hope or a dream that one day, they might somehow be able to return to their homes and begin to rebuild their lives all over again.
"Since this summer, more than 655,000 Rohingya have been forced to join the ranks of the desperate and displaced. Yes, desperation from a spate of state-sponsored violence, that saw Myanmar’s security forces and military aid and abet the killings and campaign of murder and brutality that forced so many to leave, killing some 7,000 of the Muslim minority people; and displaced by ethnic and community violence that was orchestrated and organised on a scale that amounted to what the United Nations described was a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.
"From Syria, a desperate diaspora of refugees is now living in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey or eking out an existence across Europe. Few have found nations willing to open doors, hearts and arms to offer true support. In Kenya, Uganda and Thailand, millions more exist in organised camps. Dependent on the generosity of nations for basic needs. In Haiti, while nature has bruised and battered its people with a series of natural disasters, there is little long-term hope. And across the Sahel in sub-Saharan Africa, millions too rely on the United Nations and aid organisations for support and the necessities of life.
"If ever there was a time when we all needed to think about others first, then that time is now. If ever there was a time to donate and offer what help we can, then this is it. And if ever there was a time for us all to pledge that we can and will make a difference, this indeed is it.
The Dubai-based daily concluded by saying, "Pope Francis used his traditional Christmas address to highlight the plight of the 22 million who now live in refugee camps, and it is a message that needs to be heard, not just by those Roman Catholics who follow his church’s teachings, but by every one of us. That needs to be our truest and sincerest resolution for the New Year."