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The Age of Exile

By Tamu Bakery, Jan 22 2016 04:48PM

"A bundle of belongings isn't the only thing a refugee brings to his new country. Einstein was a refugee".

The rise of the Nazi party and anti-Semitism made it increasingly difficult for Einstein to work and in 1932 he took up the offer of a post at Princeton, USA. He expressed mixed feelings about his life in exile. "In this small university town the chaotic voices of human strife barely penetrate. I am almost ashamed to be living in such peace while all the rest struggle and suffer".

After the breakthrough of the theory of relativity and 80 years later, we still live in the age of the refugee, the age of exile. The EU says that the world is facing its worst refugee crisis since WWII. I would say, the worst crisis of our era. Millions of men, women and children are living a life of misery - fleeing wars and totalitarian regimes in the Middle East and Africa. The estimated number of displaced people globally is above 50 million, yet the UK is home to less than 1% of the world's refugees. If the media hype were to be believed, this country apparently is overwhelmed with a flood of asylum seekers, who receive more benefits that the average pensioner. In fact, I can tell you a different story, the real one.

Like the daughter of a prominent doctor in Syria. She brought some samples of her savoury baking along to share at the group. Cumin, turmeric, cardamom filled the room with spicy aromas, while she told me about life before and after the war... People who have fled violence and death deserve our appreciation of their courage and strength. Not abuse, stereotyping, and a cold shoulder. Before we build new high walls, we should consider the morality of putting peaceful fellow humans in cages, so they can’t cross borders.

At every baking session with refugees I demonstrated my mother’s recipe for some biscuits called "roses under the snow" – a symbolic piece of baking as you never know when a rose will blossom, even winter time. Miracles have happened before.

A bundle of belongings isn't the only thing a refugee brings to his new country. Hopes, dreams and aspirations for a better life are all carefully packed too. Let’s not stand by and allow these to be crushed by the jackboot of history once again.