“There are no such things as migrants or refugees”, said Fr General Adolfo Nicolas, “only people. And the lines and borders on maps are only lines, not reality” He was speaking at the launch im Limerick of the Jesuit Refugee Service’s annual report on Friday Sept 11th. He praised the staff of the JRS for their continuing dedication to accompanying and serving those who had come to Ireland from far-flung countries in search of refuge and asylum. He also voiced his concern at the growing trend in many European countries to close off their borders and lock their doors to strangers seeking help.
Fr Nicolas believes that the rise in hostility toward foreigners and the stirring up of xenophobia is easy to accomplish but it must be tackled by people in host countries engaging in an act of memory. Many of those people were once migrants themsleves, depending on the kindness of others in countries not their own , he says. Others would once have employed migrants themselves to do the dangerous, dirty work they would not do themselves. Remembering this reality is the key to change.