Mandy Patinkin is an actor and performer.
“I saw death behind me, and life in front of me,” said Safae, a Syrian mother of two young sons, as she told me the story of her family’s escape from the Islamic State. They had fled in the night across the Syrian-Turkish border and had arrived, finally, in Greece.
Looking at her two beautiful boys, I was reminded of my own grown sons. How similar our families were; face to face, it was so easy to imagine myself in her shoes, worn as they were after her dangerous trek.
After wrapping filming for the fifth season of “Homeland” in Berlin — living in a fictional world of chaos, violence and confusion — I went to the island of Lesbos to spend time with folks from the International Rescue Committee (IRC). I joined them there to support people like Safae and her family, who have faced the realities of terrorism and war that I have only imagined on screen.
Because of treacherous winds, no boats had come to shore in the two days since we had arrived, but there was one stranded family in the refugee center. Their money and papers had been lost in the waves when they landed, and they were trying to figure out how to reach relatives in Germany. They needed 150 euros — just enough for ferry and train tickets. I felt blessed to meet Safae, her husband, Koder, and their two sons and to be able to give them the money they needed to continue their journey.
Standing with them, I did not see strangers to be feared but the faces and stories of my own family. I saw Grandpa Max, who left Poland to escape the Nazis, and Grandma Masha, who was forced from Russia during the pogroms. And now I could help this family reach the safety of Germany — a place my ancestors had fled — in search of welcoming arms.
We exchanged WhatsApp numbers and email addresses and promised to stay in touch. Before we parted, I asked, “Are you afraid?” Instantly, both parents replied, “No, we are no longer afraid of anything.”
The next morning, as we were leaving for the airport, people started shouting that a boat was landing. We ran to the beach and discovered that it was the eighth boat that had landed since sunrise. It headed straight toward us. As we grabbed the ropes to hold the boat, the people inside started leaping out toward shore.
Pour lire l'article dans son entièreté : https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/we-must-open-our-arms-to-refugees-rather-than-close-our-hearts/2015/12/04/5c115eb2-9951-11e5-8917-653b65c809eb_story.html