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Pondering the experiences of refugees

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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#1
When we start planning our Camino walks, we save up some money, try on different packs, experiment with footwear and sock combinations, discuss rain wear choices with others, look into booking accommodation ahead where there might not be many options. We look into Spanish SIM cards and hope there is good WiFi access so that we can keep in touch with our people back home. We expect to meet buddies along the way.

Lately in the US, there has been news about a "caravan" of people fleeing poverty and violence in Central America, currently traveling up through Mexico toward the United States border. We are talking about a journey of more than 3000 kilometers. There are similar refugee groups elsewhere in the world, leaving their homes (where, in most cases, many generations of their families have lived and died), heading off into the unknown because the conditions where they came from are that intolerable.

People are often impressed when I brag about how I walked 1000 kilometers. But with my Camino experience in mind, I am trying to picture the experiences of desperate migrants.

Most of them likely don't have money "saved up" and aren't using ATMs along the way. There are many women, wearing thin-soled "ladies' shoes" and sometimes carrying babies or accompanying children. None of them can let knee pain or blisters delay them. There are no yellow arrows, no albergues, no camaraderie with others traveling the same route. Really, I don't know what they eat, where they sleep, or how they know what route to take. Sometimes they face hostility from others along the way or at their destination. They carry what they can, however they can carry it. They walk through weather they can't prepare for.

I have walked long distances, but I know I can't put myself in their shoes. Nobody will congratulate them on the adventure they probably didn't want to - but felt they needed to - undertake. Who knows what will happen and what will "greet" them when they reach their destinations. My heart breaks for these folks.
 
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Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
#2
@JillGat I share your concern. When we did our 2014 camino we made and collected 100kg of clothing and blankets which we took to Spain (using our checked baggage allowance) and gave to a refugee organisation on arrival (they came to the airport to pick it all up). We are involved with our local refugee organisation and count among our friends now a family from Zimbabwe. But mostly I feel like we don't do enough, I feel uncomfortable in my comfort.

A photo sparked some words a few years back:

Be Honest

Outrage at exploitation
Who took that photo?
Sensational.
Undignified.
It shouldn’t be paraded
for all the world to see.

A nameless child
Red t-shirt
Blue shorts
Two shoes.

Face down
On the sand
Sea lapping
A foreign land.

A single death is a tragedy,
a million deaths is a statistic-
said Joseph Stalin.

Last week seventy-one suffocated
In a truck.
It was news
for a day.
71 is too lose to a million
To be much more than a statistic.

But let us wake up.
The one.
He had a name.
Aylan.
He was three years old.
He had a brother.
Five years.
They laughed with a big white teddy bear.
They had a Mama
And a father.

Only he remains,
The father.
Everything that matters lost.
No family.
No freedom.
Certainly no country, job, car, insurance, healthcare, food, house, home.

He lifts his hand to his face.
The morgue behind him.
Heart shattered with grief.

His babies.
Gone.
His love.
Gone.
Dreams destroyed.
Desperation personified.
A future unfathomable.
Uncertain.

This one remains.
And how many million more?

We'll do what we can.
Will we?
Will we really?
Or will we settle for what doesn't hurt us?
Will we really sacrifice
for our brothers and sisters in humanity?

We are neighbours.
Are we Good Samaritans?
Or will we turn away, hurry on by,
Say they are too far away?
And too different to us anyway?
Will we justify our complacency
Defending ourselves
Insisting
we have problems in our own backyard
As if helping is an either/or proposition?

Will we take coins fro our pocket
To pay for a a refugee's care?
Will we take time from our day
To help?
To do something?
To find out what we could do?

Will we give up anything
For those who have lost everything?
Or will we sigh
The problem's too big
And do nothing?

Will we open our hearts?
Our homes?
Our lives?
For even one?

We have seen.
The photo has spoken.
We have no excuse.


A week later I was still mulling it over. Still am.
CONFESSION

I feel comfortable.

We have so much food it is overflowing from the pantry.
We have so many friends we can't keep up with having them over
We get to zip off to Portugal or the mountain at a moment's notice.
We have books and toys and tools.
We have a pizza oven and a pool.
We have access to medical care, education and entertainment.
We have a television, computers, laptops, tablets, phones and a gazillion chargers and cables.
We have camping gear stashed away in the ceiling when there are people without so much as a tarpaulin for protection from the elements.
Even our youngest boys earn more on their paper runs than millions of families are trying to survive on.

I feel uncomfortable.

We know what is happening in the world.
But we can forget.
We have the luxury to ignore.
We have enough to fill our time that we can turn a blind eye.
We can be challenged to our own apathy,
to stop justifying our complacency,
to stop defending our inaction....

And still do nothing.

I don't want to be in love with "the idea" of helping;
I want to help.
I don't want to be "in love" with the idea of making a difference;
I want to make a difference.
I don't want to be "in love" with the idea of sacrifice.
But I am.
I don't actually want to sacrifice.
I want to be able to stop giving before it hurts.
I want to appease my conscience without changing my lifestyle.
I want to make sure I have enough.
But I'm slow to define "enough".

When I stop, when I take time, when I pray, when I look deep into my heart
I realise I do want to sacrifice.
I want to prove that I believe the last shall be first.
I want to prove that it is in giving that you receive.
I want to put my trust in the Creator of the universe, not in a bank balance.
I want to prove that God is enough.
More than enough.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#3
When we start planning our Camino walks, we save up some money, try on different packs, experiment with footwear and sock combinations, discuss rain wear choices with others, look into booking accommodation ahead where there might not be many options. We look into Spanish SIM cards and hope there is good WiFi access so that we can keep in touch with our people back home. We expect to meet buddies along the way.

Lately in the US, there has been news about a "caravan" of people fleeing poverty and violence in Central America, currently traveling up through Mexico toward the United States border. We are talking about a journey of more than 3000 kilometers. There are similar refugee groups elsewhere in the world, leaving their homes (where, in most cases, many generations of their families have lived and died), heading off into the unknown because the conditions where they came from are that intolerable.

People are often impressed when I brag about how I walked 1000 kilometers. But with my Camino experience in mind, I am trying to picture the experiences of these desperate migrants.

Most of them likely don't have money "saved up" and aren't using ATMs along the way. There are many women, wearing thin-soled "ladies' shoes" and sometimes carrying babies or accompanying children. None of them can let knee pain or blisters delay them. There are no yellow arrows, no albergues, no camaraderie with others traveling the same route. Really, I don't know what they eat, where they sleep, or how they know what route to take. Sometimes they face hostility from others along the way or at their destination. They carry what they can, however they can carry it. They walk through weather they can't prepare for.

I have walked long distances, but I know I can't put myself in their shoes. Nobody will congratulate them on the adventure they probably didn't want to - but felt they needed to - undertake. Who knows what will happen and what will "greet" them when they reach their destinations. My heart breaks for these folks.
I share your perspective, and wish that we lived in a world where these poor desperate people feel as welcome at the end of their journey as we do when we reach Santiago.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#4
When we start planning our Camino walks, we save up some money, try on different packs, experiment with footwear and sock combinations, discuss rain wear choices with others, look into booking accommodation ahead where there might not be many options. We look into Spanish SIM cards and hope there is good WiFi access so that we can keep in touch with our people back home. We expect to meet buddies along the way.

Lately in the US, there has been news about a "caravan" of people fleeing poverty and violence in Central America, currently traveling up through Mexico toward the United States border. We are talking about a journey of more than 3000 kilometers. There are similar refugee groups elsewhere in the world, leaving their homes (where, in most cases, many generations of their families have lived and died), heading off into the unknown because the conditions where they came from are that intolerable.

People are often impressed when I brag about how I walked 1000 kilometers. But with my Camino experience in mind, I am trying to picture the experiences of these desperate migrants.

Most of them likely don't have money "saved up" and aren't using ATMs along the way. There are many women, wearing thin-soled "ladies' shoes" and sometimes carrying babies or accompanying children. None of them can let knee pain or blisters delay them. There are no yellow arrows, no albergues, no camaraderie with others traveling the same route. Really, I don't know what they eat, where they sleep, or how they know what route to take. Sometimes they face hostility from others along the way or at their destination. They carry what they can, however they can carry it. They walk through weather they can't prepare for.

I have walked long distances, but I know I can't put myself in their shoes. Nobody will congratulate them on the adventure they probably didn't want to - but felt they needed to - undertake. Who knows what will happen and what will "greet" them when they reach their destinations. My heart breaks for these folks.
A deep bow to you!!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#5
A couple of days ago I met on the Ctrain (local transit) a Turkish refugee whom I had been helping with his English lessons at my church for some time. He greeted me with delight and told me what has been happening in his life. He is now in a full-time formal English language class, not available when he first came to us. We in the camino forum do not generally talk about what we do for others. But I consider myself one of a generous group about whose kind acts I will usually only hear incidentally. For me, walking caminos is how I refresh my spirit for whatever I am able to do and give in my daily life the rest of the year.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#6
Wow, Jill. *Thank you for this beautiful thread.* _/\_
The superficial similarity and the profound differences between those of us who are fortunate and those of us who aren't are often in the back of my mind - both when I am walking and when I read a story of someone who is a refugee.
Those of us who are privileged tend to take it for granted.
But the line separating "us" and "them" can move in a moment and without warning. It could as easily be us out there, but we are the lucky ones. And just like us those who are less fortunate want to be happy, healthy, and at ease. So the more we can touch that common humanity, the more we can act to help with compassion to alleviate the suffering of others.

I so appreciate your honest reflections, @Kiwi_family
What to do starts with that questioning, and then we each live into our own answers. Culture is made by individual people. And I so love the Dalai Lama's encouragement: "If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito."
 
D

Deleted member 36903

Guest
#8
No, @as gaillimh, it is not off topic, although it may make for uncomfortable reading. Walking the Camino offers the time for deep reflection. hopefully leading to a better understanding of our place in the world as human beings and recognising that any change in the wider world starts with ourselves. As William Morris wrote 'fellowship is life, and the lack of fellowship is death.'
Thank you @JillGat and @Kiwi-family for your posts reminding us of how materially privileged many of us are here on the forum, not to guilt-trip but to say we all should do whatever we can we can to help those walking a road because of war, famine or economic necessity.
I enjoy reading about alternative routes and which are the best boots and all that stuff, but we also need opportunities to discuss the deeper stuff that reminds us of our connections and obligations to others and I would be unhappy to see this thread shut down just as a similar one was recently.
 
Camino(s) past & future
----
#10
we all should do whatever we can to help those walking a road because of war, famine or economic necessity.
And since this forum does not allow anything that could be labelled political discussion the answer is: charitable acts like donation of material goods and one's one time in the form of volunteer work at home. And superficial comparisons between asylum seekers, refugees from war zones or economic migrants who travel long distances and camino walkers who walk hundreds of miles on foot in their leisure time. It is uncomfortable to write this but I have to agree with @as gaillimh.
 
D

Deleted member 36903

Guest
#11
... superficial comparisons between asylum seekers, refugees from war zones and economic migrants who travel long distances and camino walkers who walk hundreds of miles on foot in their leisure time. It is uncomfortable to write this but I have to agree with @as gaillimh.
@Kathar1na , the OP didn't make superficial comparisons, rather @JillGat described how the events she describes had prompted a certain line of reflection which is somewhat different.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#12
Thank you, @SEB, for that distinction. There is a lot of nuance here. And the topic is uncomfortable.
But this is a heartfelt plea to the moderators who may be edging over towards the 'close' button even as I write.
Please, don't.

When the camino is done as inner work it deepens our connection with ourselves and each other.
It's heart work as well as body work. And so the beautiful reflections that Jill started and others have continued are about that, rather than about politics: how are we to open our hearts to the world, with all it contains, of joy and of sorrow? The sorrowful and painful places are the growing places for wisdom and compassion, where we struggle to open the heart far enough. I loved @Kiwi_family 's articulation of that.
We open, we close....and this particular thread shines a light on that like no other.
 
Camino(s) past & future
----
#13
@Kathar1na , the OP didn't make superficial comparisons, rather @JillGat described how the events she describes had prompted a certain line of reflection which is somewhat different.
I see the same images on TV. I have the same reflections. I still regard it as off topic because of the restrictions on speech on this forum, and I mean everyone's - not mine. Of course, one can try to force any topic under the header "camino spirit" and "how can I become a better person after my camino" ...
 
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#14
As many of you suspect the moderators have an eagle eye on this thread which so far has kept just within the bounds of our rules. With luck and consideration before people post, it will stay that way.

As you all know politics is outside what the forums allows, as is personal disparagement. So as long as the thread deals with walking and issues related to that alone it will not be locked.
 

Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
#16
When we start planning our Camino walks, we save up some money, try on different packs, experiment with footwear and sock combinations, discuss rain wear choices with others, look into booking accommodation ahead where there might not be many options. We look into Spanish SIM cards and hope there is good WiFi access so that we can keep in touch with our people back home. We expect to meet buddies along the way.

Lately in the US, there has been news about a "caravan" of people fleeing poverty and violence in Central America, currently traveling up through Mexico toward the United States border. We are talking about a journey of more than 3000 kilometers. There are similar refugee groups elsewhere in the world, leaving their homes (where, in most cases, many generations of their families have lived and died), heading off into the unknown because the conditions where they came from are that intolerable.

People are often impressed when I brag about how I walked 1000 kilometers. But with my Camino experience in mind, I am trying to picture the experiences of these desperate migrants.

Most of them likely don't have money "saved up" and aren't using ATMs along the way. There are many women, wearing thin-soled "ladies' shoes" and sometimes carrying babies or accompanying children. None of them can let knee pain or blisters delay them. There are no yellow arrows, no albergues, no camaraderie with others traveling the same route. Really, I don't know what they eat, where they sleep, or how they know what route to take. Sometimes they face hostility from others along the way or at their destination. They carry what they can, however they can carry it. They walk through weather they can't prepare for.

I have walked long distances, but I know I can't put myself in their shoes. Nobody will congratulate them on the adventure they probably didn't want to - but felt they needed to - undertake. Who knows what will happen and what will "greet" them when they reach their destinations. My heart breaks for these folks.
Thanks for this thoughtful piece. I was talking to a ‘Camino amigo’ from Hungary who expressed strong views about ‘illegal migration’. The majority of people walking on any single day are probably refugees.
 

Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
#18
And since this forum does not allow anything that could be labelled political discussion the answer is: charitable acts like donation of material goods and one's one time in the form of volunteer work at home. And superficial comparisons between asylum seekers, refugees from war zones or economic migrants who travel long distances and camino walkers who walk hundreds of miles on foot in their leisure time. It is uncomfortable to write this but I have to agree with @as gaillimh.
Why would an empathetic discussion of refugees be regarded as political - I don’t see anyone offering particular solutions? The current refugee crisis is a global humanitarian issue, to which there are no simple solutions. But in walking we have time to think about big things like this. It would be disappointing if the forum couldn’t deal with a gentle reminder of how lucky we are to be walking by choice rather than necessity.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2017); Finisterre (2018)
#19
Thank you for the deep insights. All people on journeys need the energy of the Universe to push on. There are many souls in poverty on the Camino too. Each knows their own desolation as we carry our baggage and wrestle with the past and hope for a new future to emerge. Godspeed to all -
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#20
Perhaps instead of discussing it on a one dimensional forum, those concerned could volunteer to assist the less fortunate hands on. Discussing it on here solves nothing and makes nobody's day better.
I do both. :)
Like many other posters here , including @Kiwi-family .

And yes I do believe discusssing this theme on this platform does solve something.
It does make my day better knowing that there are compassionate people on this forum who take the time to reflect about their Camino and how this has impact on their daily life and thoughts.

@JillGat : again thank you so much.

Precisely these kind of conversations are what made my Caminos so special. I see these forum discussions as a natural continuation of the wonderful talks two pilgrims can have on a Camino.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#21
I have learned when 'to keep my powder dry' in this forum. So I will not say anything beyond noting that we in the US are following this caravan very closely as it heads north.


Everyone be well...
 
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Camino(s) past & future
future
#22
@JillGat and @Kiwi-family, thank you. It is so encouraging to read your words and realize others on the Camino thought many of the same things I did while walking. For the most part, the people with whom I walked did not want to talk about the real world while I was aching to find some insight and viable actions I could take to help in the real world after my Camino. I so appreciate this thread. I do not consider it a political thread in any way but more a human thread - written by thoughtful humans wanting to help other humans. I think discussing our humanity and learning from each other is exactly the point of the Camino. Again, thank you.
 
#23
When we start planning our Camino walks, we save up some money, try on different packs, experiment with footwear and sock combinations, discuss rain wear choices with others, look into booking accommodation ahead where there might not be many options. We look into Spanish SIM cards and hope there is good WiFi access so that we can keep in touch with our people back home. We expect to meet buddies along the way.

Lately in the US, there has been news about a "caravan" of people fleeing poverty and violence in Central America, currently traveling up through Mexico toward the United States border. We are talking about a journey of more than 3000 kilometers. There are similar refugee groups elsewhere in the world, leaving their homes (where, in most cases, many generations of their families have lived and died), heading off into the unknown because the conditions where they came from are that intolerable.

People are often impressed when I brag about how I walked 1000 kilometers. But with my Camino experience in mind, I am trying to picture the experiences of these desperate migrants.

Most of them likely don't have money "saved up" and aren't using ATMs along the way. There are many women, wearing thin-soled "ladies' shoes" and sometimes carrying babies or accompanying children. None of them can let knee pain or blisters delay them. There are no yellow arrows, no albergues, no camaraderie with others traveling the same route. Really, I don't know what they eat, where they sleep, or how they know what route to take. Sometimes they face hostility from others along the way or at their destination. They carry what they can, however they can carry it. They walk through weather they can't prepare for.

I have walked long distances, but I know I can't put myself in their shoes. Nobody will congratulate them on the adventure they probably didn't want to - but felt they needed to - undertake. Who knows what will happen and what will "greet" them when they reach their destinations. My heart breaks for these folks.
I thank you for this post. I’m a priest in a Parish that has ministries to the refugees and asylum seekers at our southern border. One of my parishioners just got back from the border where she encountered refugees and immigrants with painful stories of treacherous journeys on foot. I, myself, have walked the caminio with parishioners to raise awareness and funds for the plight of refugees. The Camino can be a powerful way for us who have so many blessings to “connect” in spirit with those who are making such perilous journeys escaping violence and poverty. It’s all about perspective and making the Camino in a spirit of simplicity and peace.
Peace to you all. Frank.
 

Harington

una abuelita inglés
Camino(s) past & future
Vézelay/Francés 2011, Primitivo 2012, VdlP 2013, Via Domitia 2014, Inglés 2015, Francigena 2016
#24
When we start planning our Camino walks, we save up some money, try on different packs, experiment with footwear and sock combinations, discuss rain wear choices with others, look into booking accommodation ahead where there might not be many options. We look into Spanish SIM cards and hope there is good WiFi access so that we can keep in touch with our people back home. We expect to meet buddies along the way.

Lately in the US, there has been news about a "caravan" of people fleeing poverty and violence in Central America, currently traveling up through Mexico toward the United States border. We are talking about a journey of more than 3000 kilometers. There are similar refugee groups elsewhere in the world, leaving their homes (where, in most cases, many generations of their families have lived and died), heading off into the unknown because the conditions where they came from are that intolerable.

People are often impressed when I brag about how I walked 1000 kilometers. But with my Camino experience in mind, I am trying to picture the experiences of these desperate migrants.

Most of them likely don't have money "saved up" and aren't using ATMs along the way. There are many women, wearing thin-soled "ladies' shoes" and sometimes carrying babies or accompanying children. None of them can let knee pain or blisters delay them. There are no yellow arrows, no albergues, no camaraderie with others traveling the same route. Really, I don't know what they eat, where they sleep, or how they know what route to take. Sometimes they face hostility from others along the way or at their destination. They carry what they can, however they can carry it. They walk through weather they can't prepare for.

I have walked long distances, but I know I can't put myself in their shoes. Nobody will congratulate them on the adventure they probably didn't want to - but felt they needed to - undertake. Who knows what will happen and what will "greet" them when they reach their destinations. My heart breaks for these folks.
I so applaud your post. When I set out from Canterbury for Rome I was so very conscious of my expensive new boots and rucksack etc, walking south when so many were struggling to come north through Europe. All I could do was set up a JustGiving page for Refugee Action. I also since felt I must do a stint with Help Refugees in Calais, as a small way of "giving back." I doubt these poor migrants encounter the kindness of strangers in the way I have done as a pilgrim.
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#27
Gently, folks.

Please continue to carefully consider your replies before posting.
The statements and opinions so far are well received.

Opinions or criticism of the rules or actions of any government or country is not acceptable and will, without doubt, cause conflict in the thread and cause the thread to be closed.

Our members represent all sides of every political position and are quickly triggered into reaction to opposing views. This is the reason that "no politics" is strictly enforced on the forum.

Thanks for helping keep the forum civil and as free as possible from rudeness..
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#28
The Camino does work on us in ways we neither expect nor perceive. I find myself reacting to the situations in both Europe and North America with much more empathy and compassion than before I started walking.
 

TaijiPilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2011), Camino Frances (2015), Camino Ingles (2017), Camino Muxia (2017)
#29
In my opinion, this is a camino topic that goes to the heart of what lessons we, the well- heeled modern pilgrim, should be considering. Often, pilgrims complain about long distances, blisters and plantar fasciitis, the rush for a bed at the end of the walking day, slow wi-fi, the weather etc. and even sometimes use the word "suffering." On the meseta in 2015, I had a conversation with another pilgrim about what defined inconvenience and discomfort and what defined suffering, and at that time, I suggested we - he and I - were not suffering. There were many people throughout the world who really were suffering, and we should be thankful that we were not among them. May Peace prevail on Earth.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#30
Okay, then leave it at this.
I felt like walking 1000K was a big accomplishment, even though I had lots of resources and foresight and preparation. After walking a long distance, I have a different perspective and astonishment (than others who have not walked distances probably have) that people are walking over 3300K up through the Americas, with poor shoes and gear, often with families and children, no safety nets and many threats. I'm trying to imagine how they do this, with little resources and not knowing what the next day will bring. How do they even choose the route? Where do they sleep?

I also think sometimes about the pioneers crossing the US on foot with caravans of wagons back in the day; knowing little about what they would face, likely never seeing their families again, facing a variety of threats, then starting their lives again from scratch in the wilderness, and some of these folks were Pregnant Women!

There are different kinds of long walks, for sure.
 

Finisterre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria 2001,
Porto 2006,
Valenca 2008,
Finisterre 2010,
SJdPP 2012,
Tui 2014.

No plans to return, yet.
#31
What is the point of telling each other how well off we are if we cannot discuss inequality, it's causes and possible solutions?

We could do with a separate discussion board where anything can be said.

Camino unplugged, unhinged, unfettered, or something
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#32
We could do with a separate discussion board where anything can be said.
The internet is full of spaces where anything can be said: places where invective, insult and falsehood are seemingly welcome. I am glad that this forum is not such a place. That said, there is nothing in the rules of this forum that constrains discussion of "inequality, it's causes and possible solutions?" provided that that discussion is conducted within the boundaries set by the rules of this forum.

There has been good discussion here before on the differences between pilgrimage, migration and a nice walking holiday. I've been impressed by many posts in this thread, particularly those that have expressed an attempt at understanding the lives and life experience of migrants, forced or aspirational and those that have offered, without pride, their own contributions to change.

As @William Marques has said, moderators will watch this thread closely. But we would like to see it thrive.
 

MichaelB10398

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
#33
In a world of disparate nations and a wide range of political structures to govern them, there are no easy answers. The Call of the Way is individual, personal; however, it is a call that is heard the world over. A call that unites, joins, bonds the individual to a great whole. It is beyond religion but united in the same Spirit.
As one that has dealt with the challenge of refugees on a world basis, I know that there is not an easy answer. This wound is not healed by the mass transplantation of populations to other countries. This would will only be healed on an individual basis where the one serves their neighbor and supports leaders that first serve their people.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#34
As @William Marques has said, moderators will watch this thread closely. But we would like to see it thrive.
I’m terrified to say anything! :oops: But...I’ll still share my thoughts because they have not left me for some years now....
In 2014, I walked the exact opposite way the ‘refugees/migrants (not sure what is pc to say so apologies in advance) walked just a year later. What can I say? Like you, I had good boots, a tent, enough money to find accommodation, food.... They went through snow, just as I did but with no-thing :oops: And I remember people saying ‘why on earth don’t they put some more trains out for them??? It’s disgraceful!!!’
I knew the answer. That is all there was. Two trains: one running in the daytime, one at night (probably the same one!). I did wonder why there was one at night - who chooses to leave at 12? - and was told it was because it was cheaper. I know all this because a friend came to join us in Bulgaria but found he couldn’t walk the distances so we checked the trains and/or buses for him!
Watching it all on TV screens just one year later after my walk was very poignant. The images have not left me.
This said.... What did I do to help them? Nothing. All we do is have standing orders for charities. And to this day, I don’t know what I could have done... It is just that I KNEW how hard the journey was :(
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#35
What is the point of telling each other how well off we are if we cannot discuss inequality, it's causes and possible solutions?

We could do with a separate discussion board where anything can be said.

Camino unplugged, unhinged, unfettered, or something
I guess rules are rules and we have to play by them if we don't want thread to be closed and/or be banned ourselves (I know what I'm talking about the later ;) ) but similar provocative thing happened a bit more than a year ago before and after Catalonian referendum and the group within the forum was formed and we still discuss the matter without constraints and in civilized manner to this day. Maybe you could start such a group? I would gladly join!
 
Camino(s) past & future
May and October 2015
(2015 October)
June 2018 Portuguese
#36
@JillGat I share your concern. When we did our 2014 camino we made and collected 100kg of clothing and blankets which we took to Spain (using our checked baggage allowance) and gave to a refugee organisation on arrival (they came to the airport to pick it all up). We are involved with our local refugee organisation and count among our friends now a family from Zimbabwe. But mostly I feel like we don't do enough, I feel uncomfortable in my comfort.

A photo sparked some words a few years back:

Be Honest

Outrage at exploitation
Who took that photo?
Sensational.
Undignified.
It shouldn’t be paraded
for all the world to see.

A nameless child
Red t-shirt
Blue shorts
Two shoes.

Face down
On the sand
Sea lapping
A foreign land.

A single death is a tragedy,
a million deaths is a statistic-
said Joseph Stalin.

Last week seventy-one suffocated
In a truck.
It was news
for a day.
71 is too lose to a million
To be much more than a statistic.

But let us wake up.
The one.
He had a name.
Aylan.
He was three years old.
He had a brother.
Five years.
They laughed with a big white teddy bear.
They had a Mama
And a father.

Only he remains,
The father.
Everything that matters lost.
No family.
No freedom.
Certainly no country, job, car, insurance, healthcare, food, house, home.

He lifts his hand to his face.
The morgue behind him.
Heart shattered with grief.

His babies.
Gone.
His love.
Gone.
Dreams destroyed.
Desperation personified.
A future unfathomable.
Uncertain.

This one remains.
And how many million more?

We'll do what we can.
Will we?
Will we really?
Or will we settle for what doesn't hurt us?
Will we really sacrifice
for our brothers and sisters in humanity?

We are neighbours.
Are we Good Samaritans?
Or will we turn away, hurry on by,
Say they are too far away?
And too different to us anyway?
Will we justify our complacency
Defending ourselves
Insisting
we have problems in our own backyard
As if helping is an either/or proposition?

Will we take coins fro our pocket
To pay for a a refugee's care?
Will we take time from our day
To help?
To do something?
To find out what we could do?

Will we give up anything
For those who have lost everything?
Or will we sigh
The problem's too big
And do nothing?

Will we open our hearts?
Our homes?
Our lives?
For even one?

We have seen.
The photo has spoken.
We have no excuse.


A week later I was still mulling it over. Still am.
CONFESSION

I feel comfortable.

We have so much food it is overflowing from the pantry.
We have so many friends we can't keep up with having them over
We get to zip off to Portugal or the mountain at a moment's notice.
We have books and toys and tools.
We have a pizza oven and a pool.
We have access to medical care, education and entertainment.
We have a television, computers, laptops, tablets, phones and a gazillion chargers and cables.
We have camping gear stashed away in the ceiling when there are people without so much as a tarpaulin for protection from the elements.
Even our youngest boys earn more on their paper runs than millions of families are trying to survive on.

I feel uncomfortable.

We know what is happening in the world.
But we can forget.
We have the luxury to ignore.
We have enough to fill our time that we can turn a blind eye.
We can be challenged to our own apathy,
to stop justifying our complacency,
to stop defending our inaction....

And still do nothing.

I don't want to be in love with "the idea" of helping;
I want to help.
I don't want to be "in love" with the idea of making a difference;
I want to make a difference.
I don't want to be "in love" with the idea of sacrifice.
But I am.
I don't actually want to sacrifice.
I want to be able to stop giving before it hurts.
I want to appease my conscience without changing my lifestyle.
I want to make sure I have enough.
But I'm slow to define "enough".

When I stop, when I take time, when I pray, when I look deep into my heart
I realise I do want to sacrifice.
I want to prove that I believe the last shall be first.
I want to prove that it is in giving that you receive.
I want to put my trust in the Creator of the universe, not in a bank balance.
I want to prove that God is enough.
More than enough.

Thank you. You've expressed my feelings. Now, I, too, need to find a way (ways?) to act.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May and October 2015
(2015 October)
June 2018 Portuguese
#37
The internet is full of spaces where anything can be said: places where invective, insult and falsehood are seemingly welcome. I am glad that this forum is not such a place. That said, there is nothing in the rules of this forum that constrains discussion of "inequality, it's causes and possible solutions?" provided that that discussion is conducted within the boundaries set by the rules of this forum.

There has been good discussion here before on the differences between pilgrimage, migration and a nice walking holiday. I've been impressed by many posts in this thread, particularly those that have expressed an attempt at understanding the lives and life experience of migrants, forced or aspirational and those that have offered, without pride, their own contributions to change.

As @William Marques has said, moderators will watch this thread closely. But we would like to see it thrive.
Thank you!
 
Camino(s) past & future
May and October 2015
(2015 October)
June 2018 Portuguese
#38
The Camino does work on us in ways we neither expect nor perceive. I find myself reacting to the situations in both Europe and North America with much more empathy and compassion than before I started walking.
I think this is why I continue on this thread though it is unlikely I will be able to make another Camino. This posting of musings about refugees touches me in ways it could not have done before my Caminos.
 

Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
#40
I guess rules are rules and we have to play by them if we don't want thread to be closed and/or be banned ourselves (I know what I'm talking about the later ;) ) but similar provocative thing happened a bit more than a year ago before and after Catalonian referendum and the group within the forum was formed and we still discuss the matter without constraints and in civilized manner to this day. Maybe you could start such a group? I would gladly join!
It seems to me that it is really i
Thank you. You've expressed my feelings. Now, I, too, need to find a way (ways?) to act.
Thank you. You've expressed my feelings. Now, I, too, need to find a way (ways?) to act.
Thank you. You've expressed my feelings. Now, I, too, need to find a way (ways?) to act.
Most refugees get to Europe by sea. But still more than 20,000 have already come to Europe this year on land. Given how intensely so many of us are engaged in this discussion, I am just wondering (perhaps a little foolishly) whether our daily slog of walking and the associated tiredness gives us just a little bit of insight into the experience of moving each day, a new place to rest each night, living with less than most of do in our lives in comfortable homes, and so on. Is it a gift of the Camino that it gives us a little bit of insight into the lives of those with whom we share little else?
I think this is why I continue on this thread though it is unlikely I will be able to make another Camino. This posting of musings about refugees touches me in ways it could not have done before my Caminos.
Most refugees come to Europe by sea. But still over 20,000 have already come here by land just this year. I wonder, given the intensity of this discussion, whether the Camino does give us a little more insight into the plight of refugees? I know this sounds a little silly, but what a gift that would be, if the experience of walking daily, tiredness, the need to find a new home each night, living out of what we can carry on our back, gave us some little inkling or empathy for those who are really deprived.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#43
I am struggling with how I might help some Yazidi women who now live in Calgary and want help to learn English. I have worked at helping refugees learn English in a group which met weekly. That group has, at least temporarily, disbanded as the latest refugees moved on to full time classes in English. No one seems available to take on the Yazidi women. I have never led the group and have no idea how to begin to teach English to persons who are illiterate in their own language. The task is so far beyond me that only the fact that there is currently no one else pushes me to consider it. This is not about pilgrimage, but about refugee women whose horrific experiences have urged Canada to admit them and Canadians to help them. If anyone can suggest where to start, I would be very grateful. If this post is inappropriate to this forum, I apologize. Any moderator may delete it.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#44
I am struggling with how I might help some Yazidi women who now live in Calgary and want help to learn English. I have worked at helping refugees learn English in a group which met weekly. That group has, at least temporarily, disbanded as the latest refugees moved on to full time classes in English. No one seems available to take on the Yazidi women. I have never led the group and have no idea how to begin to teach English to persons who are illiterate in their own language. The task is so far beyond me that only the fact that there is currently no one else pushes me to consider it. This is not about pilgrimage, but about refugee women whose horrific experiences have urged Canada to admit them and Canadians to help them. If anyone can suggest where to start, I would be very grateful. If this post is inappropriate to this forum, I apologize. Any moderator may delete it.
I don’t know, maybe start with flash cards? You know, with drawings?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#45
I don't know. The only language I have ever taught was biblical Hebrew, and that was some years ago. But I have been thinking that maybe I, as an older woman, would be the least threatening person to teach them, and that could give us a chance to start. The only material which I have which could be useful is a dictionary of pictures, and I am not even sure that they would identify the pictures as referring to physical objects. My fear is three women sitting facing me and simply not responding. Maybe they have found someone to help by now? Anyway, this thread has pushed me to decide to speak again with the woman who was running the group and try to find out if the Yazidi women now have found the help they need or if I must go forward. Edited for spelling
 
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annakappa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
#46
@JillGat and @Kiwi-family, thank you. It is so encouraging to read your words and realize others on the Camino thought many of the same things I did while walking. For the most part, the people with whom I walked did not want to talk about the real world while I was aching to find some insight and viable actions I could take to help in the real world after my Camino. I so appreciate this thread. I do not consider it a political thread in any way but more a human thread - written by thoughtful humans wanting to help other humans. I think discussing our humanity and learning from each other is exactly the point of the Camino. Again, thank you.
I totally agree that this is a Human Thread. All about humanity, the beautiful, the good, the unfortunate and the bad.
I think that most of us who have walked the Camino, plotting our route, collecting all the "necessary" equipment, often expensive, maybe hardly ever to be used again, consulting the Forum about "what is the best this or that, can only come to a halt when watching this human flow of men, women and children, old and young, pregnant mothers and the old folks too. Following the yellow arrows. It is humbling to watch how they are so badly equipped. And we proudly say how well we managed to get by with only a change, or maybe two of clothes. And we had a backpack, not a plastic bag. And we had good boots or walking shoes (which ones are the best, most comfortable, etc) And we stayed in, often fantastic albergues, where we could wash our clothes in the designated washing area and dry them out on the line. But we were only a small group - maybe 30 to 40 people waiting to do our daily wash - NOT thousands. And some of us wanted to use a washing machine , not to mention a dryer🙄🙄🙄 My heart goes out to all those young mothers, tending to their little ones, washing their clothes, looking for a place in the floor to settle your family down. Yup, we had it easy on the Camino😊
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#47
@Albertagirl, go for it!
I have had to learn Burmese without being able to read it.
It started in the dining room at the monastery - people would point to a fruit or other kind of food and say the name. Over and over. The nouns came relatively easily this way.
Other parts of speech are harder, but it's the same way we learn as babies For the verbs, pantomime is effective. Like playing charades...only harder.
Everyone relates to food, so you could bring in some fruit/goodies, name them, and everyone can then share in the eating of them.
Fun all the way around.

I've been reflecting on this thread, and on the stark contrast between the angst that drives camino bed races and what people who are driven from home must face.
We all understand the angst of wondering if there will be a bed for the night. And a few of us know from experience that not booking ahead and occasionally having to sleep under a church porch is not the end of the world - and so for the rest of us to let go and try that would open us to a more vivid sense of what millions of people just like us face every day, and a deeper compassion. Like you, @JillGat , I wonder how they manage.

Many of us do small things - or bigger things - to help. Even if you do not live where there are refugees, the act of sharing what we have so that others have something is a powerful thing.
 
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Rick M

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
April ('16,'18, '19)
#48
I know this sounds a little silly, but what a gift that would be, if the experience of walking daily, tiredness, the need to find a new home each night, living out of what we can carry on our back, gave us some little inkling or empathy for those who are really deprived.
I think it does give us an inkling, sort of like how skydiving gives you an inkling of what falling off a 43rd floor balcony feels like. Yes, we have walked many miles in admittedly better shoes, but no pilgrim seriously doubts the outcome of their journey. The only real question we face is whether an injury will force us on to public transit.

One of my daughters did an internship in Greece last year, collecting data on health status of some of the refugees who had made it that far. Her faculty made it into an exotic vacation highlighted daily by coming face to face with the grim, stone faced, fearful, determined people who really didn't know what would happen next, but were grateful that the shelling seemed to have stopped, and food and shelter were available.

About the same time a Syrian family that had been supported by a local church moved into a house less than a block from me. It did not seem as if the parents spoke any english, but the kids could get by. Since I walked past pretty often, I had a chance to speak with them, and it was all very cordial. There was lots I could have done for these people, but I did Nothing. Nothing at all, except saying good morning. In retrospect, I guess I thought they we being "taken care of" by their sponsor group, and thats probably true. I felt as if these were the lucky ones, and there was no need for me to intervene. Upon reflection, this was not my finest hour.

Those people stayed only a short time, and then, presumably, moved onto to something more permanent. They took the scars they acquired on their Camino with them. I never saw those scars, but they must surely be horrific.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
#50
@Albertagirl if you want to take this discussion off this thread I'm happy for you to PM me. My foray into Spanish was sans writing/reading. I learnt Polish by being dumped in Poland just after the Berlin Wall came down. No textbooks, no classes. That led to me becoming an English language teacher and have some experience with refugees.
You can do it and it would be an honour to discuss fiurther with you if you like.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#51
I see the same images on TV. I have the same reflections. I still regard it as off topic because of the restrictions on speech on this forum, and I mean everyone's - not mine. Of course, one can try to force any topic under the header "camino spirit" and "how can I become a better person after my camino" ...
I am not trying to force any topic under the topic of "camino spirit." Here I am patting myself on the back for restraining myself/editing the political stuff I could and am tempted to write. I mainly wanted to point out how walking long distances gives you empathy and admiration for others who walk long distances for other reasons and in other circumstances. Again, I don't know how it can be "off topic" if I started the thread. Moderators: please allow me to say this. I won't fuel any arguments, but I want to make this point. I don't see the harm in expanding a discussion on what it is like for others who travel long distances on foot for a variety of reasons. It would be a shame not to be able to talk about this here sometimes.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#52
I mainly wanted to point out how walking long distances gives you empathy and admiration for others who walk long distances for other reasons and in other circumstances.
Yes. Just...yes.
The quivering of the heart in response to the pain of others comes directly from our own experience pain, and understanding that we have it in common.
In this sense the camino can be an engine of compassion.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#53
Yes. Just...yes.
The quivering of the heart in response to the pain of others comes directly from our own experience pain, and understanding that we have it in common.
In this sense the camino can be an engine of compassion.
Perfect. Thank you.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
#54
Maybe I’m naive. Maybe this issue is not so politicised or polarising in NZ. It had not occurred to me that it could be a contentious thread. Of course the irony is that the topic is empathy. And its wider connection to the Camino is multi-faceted. Seems on topic to me - and potentially a stimulating and challenging discussion will ensue. I’m hoping to learn as we discuss.
 

Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
#55
I think it does give us an inkling, sort of like how skydiving gives you an inkling of what falling off a 43rd floor balcony feels like. Yes, we have walked many miles in admittedly better shoes, but no pilgrim seriously doubts the outcome of their journey. The only real question we face is whether an injury will force us on to public transit.

One of my daughters did an internship in Greece last year, collecting data on health status of some of the refugees who had made it that far. Her faculty made it into an exotic vacation highlighted daily by coming face to face with the grim, stone faced, fearful, determined people who really didn't know what would happen next, but were grateful that the shelling seemed to have stopped, and food and shelter were available.

About the same time a Syrian family that had been supported by a local church moved into a house less than a block from me. It did not seem as if the parents spoke any english, but the kids could get by. Since I walked past pretty often, I had a chance to speak with them, and it was all very cordial. There was lots I could have done for these people, but I did Nothing. Nothing at all, except saying good morning. In retrospect, I guess I thought they we being "taken care of" by their sponsor group, and thats probably true. I felt as if these were the lucky ones, and there was no need for me to intervene. Upon reflection, this was not my finest hour.

Those people stayed only a short time, and then, presumably, moved onto to something more permanent. They took the scars they acquired on their Camino with them. I never saw those scars, but they must surely be horrific.
Lovely analogy - about the kind of ‘inkling’ we have! Thanks for your thoughtful input to my silly question.
 
D

Deleted member 36903

Guest
#58
I am sorry but I have deleted the last comment by Finisterre as it was directly encouraging a political discussion.
As a woman from the baby-boomer generation, the slogan 'the personal is political' has been not only a rallying cry but also a useful paradigm to encourage reflection on personal responsibilities and acknowledgement that, whatever the world problems, we are all in it together - there being no Planet B. When I walked to SdC in 2015 I was grieving for the loss of my partner, I was emotionally raw therefore open to what the Camino might offer or reveal, though I had no expectations and doubted if I would even reach Pamplona. The journey was the most profound learning experience of my life,. It involved the letting go of negative attitudes often prompted by the meeting with others from diverse backgrounds and as Joni Mitchell expressed it, who came from 'different sets of circumstances'. Day after day different challenges arose, physical and emotional. It wasn't an easy process of un/learning but it struck to the core and I know that the experience, both 'outer and inner work' as @VNwalking so elegantly expressed it, informs how I now live my life and behave to others. I might not be able to walk the Camino again physically, but what I learned hasn't faded and the beautiful, self-exposing and generous posts on this thread are just what is at the core of what that walk to SdC means to me. The tag on the forum's website is still 'where past pilgrims share, and new pilgrims learn.' I like the fact that the word 'pilgrims' is the focus but am at a loss to understand why it is that posts sharing how walking the Camino has had an impact on our thoughts about what is happening in the wider world, should have to be under the threat of deletion.
 
#59
I like the fact that the word 'pilgrims' is the focus but am at a loss to understand why it is that posts sharing how walking the Camino has had an impact on our thoughts about what is happening in the wider world, should have to be under the threat of deletion.
Such posts are fine and under no threat. But you are probably old enough to discern what is political and what is not.

As Tincatinker has said there are plenty of places where people can argue with one another about politics. We try to keep this forum an oasis of peace away from personal animosity which is what happens when political posts are allowed.
 

Finisterre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria 2001,
Porto 2006,
Valenca 2008,
Finisterre 2010,
SJdPP 2012,
Tui 2014.

No plans to return, yet.
#60
I think the problem is that the aim of the site is at odds to the ethos of pilgrimage.

To be commercial the site must not be antagonistic.
A good pilgrimage should be challenging and reflective.
imo

And that is where the fun starts.
 
Camino(s) past & future
future
#61
Such posts are fine and under no threat. But you are probably old enough to discern what is political and what is not.

As Tincatinker has said there are plenty of places where people can argue with one another about politics. We try to keep this forum an oasis of peace away from personal animosity which is what happens when political posts are allowed.
Thank you Moderator William for your efforts to keep this discussion civil and apolitical. Although I've yet to see or read those posts that are considered political anywhere in this site (you guys are doing a good job), I have no desire to engage in politics in this forum. However, I will say that I had about abandoned the site as it seemed like there was very little of substance happening here. As far as allowing me to prepare for my caminos last spring, you did that exceedingly well. But I am relieved and delighted to participate in this thread about those profound and meaningful experiences and thoughts we had during and after walking our caminos - such discussions help us re-frame our experiences as they relate to current events. Helping us explore what our experiences mean to us today is essential, IMHO. I hope you let us continue.
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#63
Thank you @Tincatinker, @wayfarer, @Kanga for your good humoured and benevolent work as moderators, it has always been much appreciated. To save further disagreements I am sadly leaving the forum. Buen Camino pilgrims!
Saddened to see you go.

Buen Camino indeed!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#64
The journey was the most profound learning experience of my life,. It involved the letting go of negative attitudes often prompted by the meeting with others from diverse backgrounds and as Joni Mitchell expressed it, who came from 'different sets of circumstances'.
That is the crux of it, isn't it? Connecting.
I so hope you stay here in some way or another @SEB - I always appreciate your input. There are still real (and free) discussions here, though often more freely on PM space.

Edit:
But I am relieved and delighted to participate in this thread about those profound and meaningful experiences and thoughts we had during and after walking our caminos - such discussions help us re-frame our experiences as they relate to current events. Helping us explore what our experiences mean to us today is essential, IMHO. I hope you let us continue.
Ditto.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#65
I am not trying to force any topic under the topic of "camino spirit." Here I am patting myself on the back for restraining myself/editing the political stuff I could and am tempted to write. I mainly wanted to point out how walking long distances gives you empathy and admiration for others who walk long distances for other reasons and in other circumstances. Again, I don't know how it can be "off topic" if I started the thread. Moderators: please allow me to say this. I won't fuel any arguments, but I want to make this point. I don't see the harm in expanding a discussion on what it is like for others who travel long distances on foot for a variety of reasons. It would be a shame not to be able to talk about this here sometimes.
Surely you realized when you started the thread the topic was at the very least, semi-political and that there are strong opinions on both sides and that there would be reactions.
For me personally, IMO, walking any of the Camino routes has nothing in common (besides the actual physical act of walking) with a group of present day migrants walking anywhere. Gentrified, modern day actual pilgrims and tourist pilgrims cannot relate with any plight/exodus/egress/escape/exploitation/immigration etc occurring now anywhere in the world.
 

Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
#66
No problem.
I thought I had managed to keep within bounds.
Oh well.
I shall survive....:)
Wish I’d got to read what got deleted (mostly to work out what is considered ‘beyond limits). But I guess, I’ll survive too 😊
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#67
May I gently suggest we take the more detailed discussion to the PM function here in this forum?

How wisely and precisely most of us try to post here I fear that it proves too difficult to stay subtle and full of consideration.
I wish we could literally " see " each other when we write, like when we talk to each other in an albergue's kitchen prepping dinner and have a glass of something.:)
I do not agree with some decisions some moderators make but I can't change that. So it is what it is.
 
Last edited:

annakappa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
#68
Surely you realized when you started the thread the topic was at the very least, semi-political and that there are strong opinions on both sides and that there would be reactions.
For me personally, IMO, walking any of the Camino routes has nothing in common (besides the actual physical act of walking) with a group of present day migrants walking anywhere. Gentrified, modern day actual pilgrims and tourist pilgrims cannot relate with any plight/exodus/egress/escape/exploitation/immigration etc occurring now anywhere in the world.
I, for one, did not even think about any political inference that this tread could have taken. My immediate reaction was how we, as Pilgrims walking to Santiago, might have some empathy on the thousands of migrants, leaving all their possessions behind and in their case "walking with bare necessities" ( don't many of us ask the Forum what to carry and how much weight can we carry) and these unfortunate people are undertaking a Camino far, far worse than any of us have done! Again thanks JillGat for having brought our attention to this ongoing situation! I for one, do relate to their plight!
 
#69
I regret that I have been unable to participate recently with as much frequency as I would like. Reading this thread now that things have blown up and then slightly calmed down, here are my thoughts. This thread started when a member decided to express her personal feelings about how walking the camino made her think about the tragic situation others are facing and living. It surely is a sad day when people reading those heartfelt feelings interpret them as a proxy for a political opinion. Surely it cannot be that expressions of empathy and compassion are political statements.

And the insults and denigration, oh my.

As we have said many times, moderating is difficult and not a science. If any of you have comments or disagreements to express with the moderators, they should be directed to a PM and not posted as a public comment. But you can be sure that we are all trying our hardest to keep the discussion within the rules Ivar has established.

If your camino did not give you the same compassionate and empathetic attitude about other, far less fortunate people who are putting one foot in front of the other, just like all us peregrinos, then that’s fine. But it seems to me that a better response would be to ignore the thread and move on to something else.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#70
Surely you realized when you started the thread the topic was at the very least, semi-political and that there are strong opinions on both sides and that there would be reactions.
For me personally, IMO, walking any of the Camino routes has nothing in common (besides the actual physical act of walking) with a group of present day migrants walking anywhere. Gentrified, modern day actual pilgrims and tourist pilgrims cannot relate with any plight/exodus/egress/escape/exploitation/immigration etc occurring now anywhere in the world.
Yeah, I agree that we can't relate, as gentrified modern day "pilgrims" to the experience of desperate people fleeing somewhere on foot. That was part of my point. That I realize, after walking 600 miles, how MUCH I can't imagine what they are doing. Most people who haven't traveled so far on foot don't even realize how much they can't imagine it. Ha, does that make sense?

Oh, and don't call me Shirley :D
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#71
I regret that I have been unable to participate recently with as much frequency as I would like. Reading this thread now that things have blown up and then slightly calmed down, here are my thoughts. This thread started when a member decided to express her personal feelings about how walking the camino made her think about the tragic situation others are facing and living. It surely is a sad day when people reading those heartfelt feelings interpret them as a proxy for a political opinion. Surely it cannot be that expressions of empathy and compassion are political statements.

And the insults and denigration, oh my.

As we have said many times, moderating is difficult and not a science. If any of you have comments or disagreements to express with the moderators, they should be directed to a PM and not posted as a public comment. But you can be sure that we are all trying our hardest to keep the discussion within the rules Ivar has established.

If your camino did not give you the same compassionate and empathetic attitude about other, far less fortunate people who are putting one foot in front of the other, just like all us peregrinos, then that’s fine. But it seems to me that a better response would be to ignore the thread and move on to something else.
Perfect, Peregrina! Thanks.
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#72
The topic has now turned to discussion of moderation and open discussion of moderator action....a violation of Rule 7 of the Forum. Moderators have been accused of bias while applying the rules.
Some posts have been deleted because of rude remarks. Some were deleted because they raise political points.

One long time member has now announced that they are leaving the forum because they disagree with the moderators enforcing the long time rules of the forum. The prohibition on discussion of political matters or religion (and bull fighting) have long been a mainstay of the forum. It will not change despite the anger and emotion expressed by some members over the continued application of the rule.

The thread...sadly...is now closed to further discussion. It really is sad that many excellent discussions and threads are closed due the fact that some members cannot accept the forum rules and abide by them.

We suggest that you take the discussion to the Private Message function of the forum. You can express your opinion openly there and include others if desired. The PMs are just that...private and cannot be monitored by Ivar or moderators.
However, please note that rude or unwelcome messages are not allowed.
 
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