History repeated

Countries that have experienced a refugee crisis before must show more understanding

Przemysława Hernacka-Azzi, known as Mrs. Azzi, photographed at her home in Ghazir, Lebanon. Originally from Poland, from where her family fled during WW2 when she was just an infant, Mrs. Azzi came to Lebanon as a refugee. Bryan Denton For The National
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The story of Przemysława Hernacka-Azzi, featured in The National yesterday, highlights the struggle that refugees go through to find a safe haven and start a new life. The Polish woman now lives in Ghazir, Lebanon, where she settled down after fleeing from the horrors of Europe in the early 1940s.

Decades later, many refugees from this region are fleeing to Eastern Europe from the Syrian civil war and other humanitarian crises. Yet they are facing reluctance and even resistance in their attempts to gain asylum. Poland has accepted fewer asylum seekers per capita than almost any other European Union country.

Today is World Humanitarian Day. It should serve as a solemn reminder of the suffering of refugees and other humanitarian crises around the globe. No one would choose to abandon their homes unless they were facing great danger. It is a shame that countries whose own people have suffered in the past need to be reminded of this fact.