• 100 Years at Epping
  • 100 Years at Epping
  • 100 Years at Epping
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
Monday, 30 May 2022 09:52

Walking the walk of justice & freedom for refugees - reflection

By Fr Clement Baffoe SVD

Clement Baffoe SVD addresses Palm Sunday Rally 2022 250On Palm Sunday this year, I was privileged to have been part of a walk for justice and freedom for refugees. The event was organised by Amnesty International-Townsville in collaboration with the Townsville Multicultural Support Group(TMSG) and a number of people from different faith backgrounds. In all, there were about 160 people who participated in the walk. I was humbled to have been chosen by the organisers to be one of the three Guest Speakers. The first speaker spoke from her experience as the General Manager of the TMSG, the second speaker shared from her lived experience as a refugee who had come to Australia a couple of years ago seeking refuge.

I was the third speaker for the day and I spoke particularly from my Roman Catholic and SVD backgrounds. One of our SVD Characteristic Dimensions is Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation(JPIC) and it includes advocacy for the downtrodden. And so, when I was invited by TMSG and Amnesty International-Townsville to speak for justice and freedom for refugees, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. This was an opportunity “to be SVD” in the Townsville Community. I would like to briefly share my talk, which was a story, with you.

“One night Mark’s house was on fire. Mark and his wife with their two kids needed to escape. The only way to escape was by jumping their neighbour’s fence. They got to the neighbour’s house and the first question asked by their neighbour was: “How did you get here?” Mark explained that they jumped the fence. Their neighbour got so mad at them that they had not come through the proper gate and as a result were not welcome to his house.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom the story, it’s clear that Mark’s neighbour was more concerned about Mark’s means of escape than Mark’s welfare. He cared less about the push factor which was driving Mark and his family from the comfort of their homes.

This is the story of many receiving countries, including Australia. We’re so engrossed in the legality of the means of the refugees’ transportation and less about what is pushing them from their countries. We’re asking them to come through the proper means ie apply for visas and come by aeroplanes and not boats. Who in their right senses would come through the window or fence if the main door was open? Who in their right senses would choose a rickety boat on the Pacific Ocean over the comfort of an aeroplane? It’s not as easy as most of our leaders are thinking. Could we put humanity and human dignity before the processes?

Last year at this time, many Ukrainians lived in the comfort of their homes and enjoyed their beautiful country and culture. Where are they today? Most of them are refugees seeking a home somewhere else. Brothers and sisters, let us remember that we are all potential refugees. It only takes the command of a certain crazy leader or group of people, and then we all become refugees. It doesn’t matter about one’s race and continent, all are potential refugees.”

I then used my talk to appeal to all to open their hearts and doors especially the doors of our country to refugees. Opening our hearts and doors means we are giving people hope and the chance to live a dignified life. May we all stand up for the justice and freedom of refugees, especially those who remain in limbo at detention centres.

Fr Clement Baffoe SVD is Assistant Priest at the Ministerial Region of the Good Shepherd in Townsville, Queensland.

Follow us on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/svdaus


Download Our App

Search for
'Divine Word Missionaries AUS'

apple 190

google 190

microsoft 190

Upcoming Events

27 Sep
Gospel of John (Marsfield) Group
Date 27.09.23 7:30pm - 9:30pm
28 Sep
Genesis Bible Study Group
28.09.23 7:30pm - 9:30pm
4 Oct
Gospel of John (Marsfield) Group
04.10.23 7:30pm - 9:30pm

donate btn 468


In the spirit of reconciliation, the Society of the Divine Word, Australia Province, acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea, sky, and community.

We acknowledge their skin-groups, story-lines, traditions, religiosity and living cultures.

We pay respect to their elders, past, present, and emerging, and extend that respect to all indigenous peoples of New Zealand, Thailand, and Myanmar.

We are committed to building with them, a brighter future together.