" Set The Captives Free "
Rev. Peter E. Bauer
The Exodus story talks about the release of the Hebrew people who were held in slavery in Egypt. Through the leadership of Moses, we learn that the Israelites were able to be freed from bondage and were able to eventually travel to the promised land of Canaan.
The story of the Exodus has traditionally been a powerful message of liberation for oppressed people. Throughout history with the rise of the Abolitionist movement and the Civil Rights movement, the words "let me people go" have reverberated powerfully and have called the ruling powers to act justly and wisely in the treatment of all people.
The current crisis of refugees moving through Central Europe from Syria and Iraq Is another Exodus event. This time, instead of Pharoah, we have the President of Hungary, Janos" Ader" who is now advocating for a wall to run along the entire of border of Hungary, complete with Concertina wire to keeps the refugees out.
Thousands of refugees are now currently camped out in front of Budapest's Keleti Train Station, many people with young children. These people have bought rail tickets to transport them to destinations like Munich, Germany.
But the train station is closed and the refugees wait outside and they sit on cardboard boxes.
Thus far, there does not appear to be a Moses on the horizon to lead these people to freedom.
Where is the International community here ? We have a human right crisis happening before our very eyes. I can't imagine the late Vaclav Havel, former President Of Czechoslovakia, Playwright and Human Rights advocate being silent on the tragedy of this current diaspora.
The United Nations needs to take action on this issue. The International Red Cross needs permission to go to Budapest and assist these refugees that are stranded in front of the train station.
Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, La. The images of thousands of people stranded at the New Orleans Convention Center, with no water and no provisions is seared into the American memory.
We need to learn from our mistakes from the past. If people are suffering, then the humane and just thing to do is to help those who are without basic human necessities. If we want to assert that we are a kind, charitable people, then this current tragedy more than demands our attention.
People need to contact their elected representatives and organizations like Amnesty International, the International Red Cross etc, in order to bring relief to these people.
Also the United States and other governments need to emphasize to the President Of Hungary that the current xenophobic policies towards refugees is not helping to provide a solution to the current tragedy of the exodus of people leaving the violence and the terror of Syria.
During this time of the Jewish High Holy Days, let us again as a world community to have the courage to say to the people in power;
" Let my people go ! "