Friday, 15 July 2016 09:33

Going home

Home – the word has been on my mind a lot. Not because I am homesick, but because so many dimensions have been added to (or taken away from?) its meaning.

Before summer ‘we expats’ here in Cyprus will often ask each other “Are you going home?”. A strange question, since for so many of us Cyprus is our home. But I guess home is what brings to mind your mum’s cooking, familiar landscapes, old friends, traditions one knows well… We are just lucky to have two homes.

However, with current events I’m almost a bit afraid of ‘going home’. Earlier in the year there were stories of many train stations having become dreadfully overcrowded refugee camps, and of people becoming paranoid of any foreigner. Then, last month, we voted for a new president in an election that was a very close call between the right -wing and the green party.

Without being too informed about Austrian politics, I was just glad it was not the right-wingers who won. Well, it turns out the elections will have to be repeated after being challenged by them!

Most likely more brainwashing, more xenophobia, more untruths being shared by the media, politicians and, of course, members of the public will ensue. People being protective of their homeland? A notion that seems rather egoistic when so many have lost theirs.

According to the UNHCR, there are 59.5 million forcibly displaced people around the world. Nearly 20 million of them are refugees, 10 million are stateless, and 51% under the age of 18.  An average of 42,500 people per day flee their homes. In the last year alone, there have been 13.9 million people newly displaced. Some 86% of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing countries. This number has jumped by 16% in the last decade. Still, refugees only account for a tiny percentage of overall immigration.

I had been really saddened reading about all the horrible ‘go home’ reactions against foreigners after Brexit. A phrase that has always infuriated me – go home where?! Will we see/are we already seeing the same in my home country? And all over the world?

It is disheartening and one can only hope that ‘home’ is something that this world will continue to offer to all its citizens, without telling anyone who does not have one to go there.
How incredibly fortunate we are to practically have two homes!

Article as published in The Cyprus Weekly of July 8th 2016 

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

Email Me · Linked In · Twitter · Facebook