When I sang “Wildflowers” from a mountainside in the Himalayas, I was singing it from a place of privilege. The ability to move freely throughout the world, the blessing of having the time and savings to make such a journey.
I was also singing it from a place of celebration. Thanking my past self for making the hard decisions that led to the life I dreamed of. Which – once again – showed the immense privilege of being blessed with a set of circumstances that even allowed that.
Fast forward to 2020, and I now sing the song in a very different setting. And for a very different reason.
I believe coronavirus is making us more aware of a simple fact – we are nothing more than human beings on a planet. While our customs, languages, and features may look different, we are the same at the core. We occupy our minds with thoughts of how to get by, how to enjoy our lives, and how to protect the ones we love.
In essence, we seek opportunity, we strive to live a better life, and we love our children.
On a planet in which such vast inequalities and injustices exist, it is no surprise that migration patterns move across our planet like waves on the shore. When faced with danger or an impossible economic situation, we all do the very same thing. We find a solution from the toolset that we have.
I wish the same rights and opportunities on others as I would wish upon myself. And while I am by no means perfect, I try to live by the golden rule. To treat others the way I would want them to treat me.
So when I walk through this camp – past a mess of deteriorating tents where entire families live for months on end, past communal showers where fungal disease lurks, past rows of porta potties shared 60 people to 1 unit – I know no human would wish this upon themselves. And so it is unacceptable to create a situation in which such a place becomes the only option for any fellow human being, especially a child.
For me, that is the beginning and end of it; the first and most important metric upon which to judge the moral bearing of any action.
Were you to be in this situation, I would speak for you. Just as I would hope someone would speak for me.
I, you, we belong somewhere we feel free.