We’ve just come across a news item on two websites, the United Nations High Council on Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN website in Brazil, that has made us proud.
This isn’t the first time we’ve commented on how we’re the grandchildren of those who were exiled, and the children of those who were actually the Basque War Children. Our family remembers how hard it is to leave the homeland, and indeed everything, behind because of war and persecution.
That’s why this story is so marvelous to us. We’ve written a lot on how much we as a people suffered. But we’ve also written on how it is our obligation, as a nation of emigrants and refugees, to share that solidarity.
We know that beyond the noise blasted out by ignorance and selfishness, blind and deaf to the suffering of others, there is a majority of Basques who feel that solidarity, who are aware, responsible, and above all, humane.
So then, this is the story of how one of those people beyond the noise, fuss, complaints, and aggressiveness, is giving us a lesson on humanity and solidarity, from a place of humbleness and love for one’s neighbor.
We can’t look away. We can’t because of the principles of basic humanity, and also because of the memory of our own history. Fortunately, or better yet thanks to our society’s commitment, we aren’t.
Begoña Herrero is an example of that, taking in a family of Syrian refugees: this is what Zahra Mackaoui on the UNHCR and UN Brazil websites is telling us.
This gesture of humanity and solidarity is not just limited to one person, but rather to all taking an active part in their circle, creating a network of protection for a family that had to abandon their home in Syria because of war, and who has known the hardship of the refugee camps. Fortunately, today, thanks to this project, that is now all in the past.
Also participating in this project are Cáritas and the Fundación Ellacuria, which (we can’t resist recalling) carries the name of Ignacio Ellacuría, the Basque Jesuit who was martyred for defending social justice for the defenseless. Without a doubt, Begoña Herrero is now honoring his memory.
This story is one to be shared, and this project one to be supported. We only have one question: why did the UN Brazil site change the title given the article by UNHCR?
UNHCR – 22/11/2019 –
Basque community opens its doors to welcome family from Syria
When Begoña Herrero volunteered to help a refugee family settle in her hometown in northern Spain, she did not expect it would also change her own life for the better.At 78, she had retired from her job as an auxiliary nurse and was living with her sister in an apartment.
ONU Brasil –
Comunidades na Espanha abrem suas portas para famílias de refugiados sírios
“As pessoas me perguntam: ‘o que você está fazendo consigo mesma ao ajudar essas pessoas?’ E eu digo: ‘o correto seria: o que elas estão fazendo por mim?’ Elas mudam você e te ajudam a pensar de uma maneira diferente”, disse a voluntária basca Begoña Herrero, que apoia famílias sírias.