Happy Midsummer’s Eve – and World Refugee Day

by Rhodri C. Williams

Every now and then the various preoccupations of this blog collide in unexpected ways. Today is such a day. Sitting here on Åland, its the first day of my summer vacation and time for the rites of Midsummer Eve, a pagan celebration the observance of which is an important part of the local community’s sense of itself. It is a day of rootedness in traditions carried out on a particular piece of turf since time out of mind by people connected through the ages by language and a sense of cultural continuity and the simple fact of their abiding presence.

All of which makes the contrast with this day’s other guise so jarring. It is World Refugee Day and not just any such day, but the one that has seen the greatest spike in conflict-related displacement since World War II. As this village’s 30 families raise the midsummer pole tonight, over 50 million people in other parts of the world have been violently uprooted from their communities, their traditions, their homes and their lands. It is a truly grim milestone and one that will cast a shadow over this and many future midsummer evenings to come.

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2 responses to “Happy Midsummer’s Eve – and World Refugee Day

  1. Jeffrey Williams

    Thank you for your thoughtful juxtaposition of Midsummer and World Refugee Days. I am pleased to report that in the US today at least on some media outlets (NPR and PBS to be precise) the dismal statistics on the spike in refugee numbers were publicized and personalized in various stories about particular refugees. While the World Cup focuses international attention on a shared athletic spectacle, we must remember the victims all across the planet of divisive national, ethnic, and religious identities and hatreds. So much damage being done to millions of lives . . .

  2. Pingback: TN mellows out at five | TerraNullius

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