While you read this, millions of men, women and children — homeless, torn from their land as a result of wars of "liberation," or religious persecution and economic chaos — wait for a better world.
WHY SHOULD IT be that in this enlightened 20th century flood tides of human beings flee their homelands to escape oppressive governments, religious persecution or a host of adverse economic conditions? What has gone wrong? Why have humanity's problems escalated so dramatically over the past few years?
A Cause for Every Effect
It's hard for the Western or industrialized nations to picture the vast numbers of people fleeing for their lives around the globe. What makes an individual willing to face great a personal risk and loss? What so overwhelms a family to cause its members to abandon long years of residence for a glimmer of hope elsewhere? Many of our readers in Africa understand the causes of the problem, for nearly half of the world's 10 million refugees are on this vast continent. Take, for example, the horn of East Africa. A Somalian official has been making the rounds in the United Nations to drum up aid and support for thousands of refugees daily pouring across his border from Ethiopia. Despite U.S. contributions amounting to 59,000 tons of food, the specter of mass death by slow starvation hovers over the refugee camps in his land. Couple this with the inescapable stench and squalor that accompanies more than a million displaced ill-housed people and you begin to get an idea what it's like to be a refugee. Somalia's situation is only a small part of the overall problem in Africa. Virtually every part of the continent (with few exceptions) is smitten with some form of social malady. Algeria serves as a harbor of refuge for revolutionaries fleeing war in the western Sahara. Cameroon is now host country for more than 80,000 refugees escaping the conflict between Chad's president and defense minister. Zaire and Zambia harbor homeless people from the civil war in Angola. Neighboring countries often receive refugees from each other! Numbers and statistics seem sterile in meaning. What you have is the equivalent of whole populations of American and European cities being suddenly displaced without sufficient resources even to house or feed them. With teeming hoards of people spread over the continent with nowhere to go, you would think someone would be able to do something, right? There is someone — sort of: The Organization of African Unity (OAU), a loose federation of. African nations that by rights should be able to contribute to the solution. Listen to what the Times of London says: "The OAU's weakness... is that it is bound by its commitment to the sovereignty of nation-states. Its failure to exert more influence [over the policies of African nations] after 17 years [of existence] is surely exemplified by the existence in Africa of four million political or tribal refugees." The OAU is limited by its own internal political problems. It lacks authority to make the decisions that would end the tragedies from which people flee. But if so significant an organization as the OAU lacks the authority, who has the authority to solve Africa's dilemmas? Mark this, because it touches on the real nature of the problem. Similar problems exist worldwide. The United States, the wealthiest country in the world, is hard-pressed to deal with refugees pouring across the narrow strait between Cuba and Florida. It is neither prepared nor able to absorb thousands of refugees from Castro's Soviet-backed government. America's own minorities face domestic hardships without the influx of another new and complex problem. Thailand, an essentially rural country can hardly be expected to absorb the vast human fallout from age-old struggles in Indochina. As you circle the globe, unsolvable problems plague the governments of man.
What Produces Refugees?
But what's the cause? The United States Library of Congress summed it up: "The cause ... may be rooted in a growing disregard by governments for the basic rights of their citizens and a wish to force internal problems onto the shoulders of the world community." Why can't we have a solution? Take Somalia as an example. We see the country locked in a head-to-head struggle with neighboring Ethiopia over the Ogaden region. Somalia claims the region as theirs. Ethiopia rules the land. Now throw in Soviet-provided armament for Ethiopia and American funds for arms in Somalia and you have a bloody conflict — but no solution. The result is obvious. Thousands of innocent citizens caught in the middle. What would you do if army tanks rumbled by your front lawn and your bedroom was splintered by mortar fire? You'd grab your family and flee into the nearest relatively safe area. The United Nations has brought 80,000 tons of food to those who escaped Ethiopia to Somalia. This world coalition of nations assembled an aid package of $120 million purely for the refugees. But all this treats the effects, not the causes. Instead of exercising authority to stop the fighting, the United Nations sponsors an aid package to alleviate the result of a conflict it cannot stop. Even more tragic, the 80,000 tons of food delivered via the aid package barely provides each refugee a little more than a pound of food a day! Remember also a large part of the world that is sponsoring this aid is in the grip of a recession and drought or floods. What happens if the food supply were to be cut? If you want to have human rights — the right to live peaceably, the right to practice your beliefs and to have a secure job - you have to live under a government that allows you these rights. If you live under a system that doesn't grant these freedoms or rights, you simply don't have them. This translates into a crisis: you either accept your loss of rights or leave the country and system behind — if you can — and become a refugee. (Some take authority into their own hands, become revolutionaries and seek to topple the system. All too often the situation worsens and more refugees are created.) The solution is then clear: man must stop thinking only in terms of treating effects by sending aid to displaced people — as needful as that is. Man must face the heart of the problem — the self-centeredness of human government, and acknowledge that a higher authority than man, a supreme authority above all governments of man must come. That means the reestablishment of the government of the Creator God! What we have today are the governments of men guided by self-interest. Only after we reap the problem of human suffering in the form of refugees do nations extend a helping hand. But they seem powerless to deal with causes. Listen to what the Bible says about self-centered human rule. Here is a classic illustration about the nature of human rule down through the ages: "These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will... appoint for himself... some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.... "He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and... give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle... and put them to his work... And in that day you will cry out [in anguish] because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the Lord will not answer you in that day" (I Samuel 8:10-18, Revised Standard Version). This is a warning from God not only to ancient Israel (to whom it was spoken), but to all people today concerning the self-centered nature of human rule, whether it be authoritarian or bureaucratic. The common denominator behind the worldwide refugee crisis is human government! What human government can adequately handle the problems? To deal with the refugees, there must be a world government powerful and wise enough to resolve the causes of crises. The United Nations, as well as any other organization, has proven it cannot cope with ultimate causes. These organizations of men are limited to treating the results, while they often, in ignorance, give rise to the very crises they try to solve. No human government exists on earth today that can resolve these human dilemmas. But there is one, about to be set up, that can and will bring about every solution.
Original Solution Rejected
The real story of the refugee problem began nearly 6,000 years ago. The opportunity of administering a government capable of resolving every future crisis was offered by God to our original human father, Adam (Genesis 1:28). God's government had been taken from the earth by the spirit being Lucifer, who rejected the way of outgoing concern for others and instituted instead, the way of self-centeredness and competition (Isaiah 14:12-15; Jude 6). If Adam chose to accept this position, he would have found the framework by which to prevent thousands of years in advance the contemporary refugee crises in Indochina, Africa and the Americas. Adam had to qualify for the position. He had to overcome Satan and his own human nature (much of which comes from Satan himself! For an understanding of this vital subject, read our reprint: "Human Nature - Did God Create It?"). Adam would have to embrace the government of God, which is the way of give. If Adam rejected God and went Satan's way (taking the attitude of get), he would automatically bring himself and all of his ancestors under a government that is in direct opposition to God! In Genesis 3, we find that indeed, that is precisely what happened. Adam, who was not deceived into his actions as Eve was (Genesis 3:1-6), deliberately took of the tree of good and evil, which symbolized the choice between the two basic ways of life. Accordingly, God cut all succeeding generations of mankind off from Him for 6,000 years, except those whom He would call for an express purpose. Adam chose the wrong government — Satan's government — because rational, sound government does not produce refugees as we see today! People stay where they are happy. The basic government Adam chose is still with us today! A fascinating and true account of the nature of human government may be found in your library or bookstore in the book The Incredible Human Potential by Herbert W. Armstrong, published by Everest House. Man's government is inherently unable to deal with the refugee problem effectively because the way of man is the cause of it! This is not to speak disparagingly of the efforts of thousands involved in relief agencies. It is to say that the problem will never be resolved fully until the world-ruling government Of God takes over. The task is too big for man.
Coming — the Ultimate Solution
The only complete answer, then, is the restoration of God's government and His way of life on this earth. Only then will any resolution of the plight of 10 million homeless people come about. The exciting prediction of this government can be found in the pages of your Bible: "But in the last days [the time we are in now] it shall come to pass, that the mountain [God's government, Daniel 2:44-45] of the house of the Lord shall be established... and He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they [every nation] shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Micah 4:1, 3). Ironically, part of this message is boldly inscribed on a marble slab by the United Nations' building! Side by side with the current ineffective world-coalition government of sorts, it mutely foretells of a time not now long in coming when the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will return to set up a government based on the laws of the living God. Once people have been restored" to their own lands there won't be any refugees under this government. Can we imagine what a changed world this will be? People will rejoice in this government — a world populated by happy men and women, with a future so positive it would take pages to describe it. In fact, pages have been written about it. For your free copy, write the nearest address on the inside cover for your copy of Why Were You Born? Refugees from this world's troubles will be given a new chance, an opportunity to learn and have a fulfilling life. There simply won't be a need of countless foundations and relief agencies — there simply won't be any war-torn lands to send relief to. "Evil" will become a word used in past-tense! See here the wonderful relief that will be provided refugees by God! "... when the favouring hour comes [after God's government is established], I [God] will answer you, and aid you when the day for rescue dawns, restoring the ruined land, repeopling desolate places, bidding exiles leave their prison and come forth to the light..." (Isaiah 49:8-9, Moffatt). And what will happen when the refugees are released? "... On the road home, food shall never fail them, they shall find pasture even upon bare hills; they shall not hunger, neither shall they thirst, never shall sun or sirocco [a hot wind blowing from the deserts] plague them..." (Isaiah 49:9-10, Moffatt). What an incredible future! And it is sure!