To Jaz, From Pauline

I just got the most amazing email, and I wanted to share it because these words apply to every single person who likes or follows this page…our tribe…

“Hi Jaz!

I hope you have time to read this, it’s quite long but it was important for me to write this to you. There’s no need to answer at all, I just wanted to write it.

I am Pauline, I’m 18 and I’m from Paris.

I’m in my first year of uni, studying history and political science. I’m not sure what I’ll do once I graduate, the only thing I know is that I’m doing everything I can to get somewhere that will allow me to change things, to make the world a better place.

I love history. We are writing our own as you read this. There’s something extremely powerful about learning what our ancestors did, what they went through to create the society we live in now. Historical decisions, wars, peace treaties, fights for freedom and rights, fights for equality, fights for peace.

Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Gandhi…

There are so many people who changed the world, who fought to make it better, who made history. And I believe you’re part of it.

Today, we have wars tearing countries apart, millions of people fleeing their homes, countries closing their borders, terrorist attacks happening in France, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Belgium, in Pakistan, in Yemen, in Afghanistan, in Germany…

Overall, it’s a huge crisis that we’re facing. And it’s hard to find light in dark times. I can see it around me. Right wing extremists are getting more and more popular, politicians are using fear to control people, racism is becoming more frequent, and hate is growing.

I know it because I’m surrounded by people who refuse to understand what refugees are fleeing, they refuse to see what’s going on out there, they don’t show any empathy. Here they are, in their own bubble, living in a powerful and rich country such as France, with food on the table and a roof over their head, they have a great education, they’re safe.

On the other hand, thousands are trapped in a nightmare that has become their reality, fighting every day for their life and their loved ones, kids seeing atrocities and losing their parents, fearing a bomb might drop on their head any minute, living in constant terror. I’m from the lucky ones, and yet thousands of people, young adults like me, don’t have this privilege of living in peace.

I don’t have anything to hold onto. Everywhere around me, at home, on social media, I see hate and division growing and it’s so scary.

Even in my family there’s a huge gap between us, because we don’t agree on what to do and what not to do, on who’s responsible and on who’s a victim, some are becoming hateful whereas others are the opposite.

It’s a very hurtful situation, to be honest. It’s hard when your father represents all the ideas you hate and all the ideas you fight against. I’d say my love for him stops where his ideals begin.

I want my children and grandchildren to learn about how we all stood strong and united, how we all fought to make the world better, to help those in need. That’s the whole point of this (very) long message.

I’m so sick of being surrounded by negativity and hate.

I’m living in Paris, not far from Calais but I’ve never met any refugees. I really want to, but for so many reasons I can’t, at least not right now. As I wrote before, my father and I have totally different opinions so he would never ever let me go there. But I’m hopeful that I will, soon. And I’m sure I’ll meet you one day too.

Lots of people call me naïve and childish for believing I can solve poverty and help refugees, but I know I can, I know we can if we all work together and united.

I had kind of lost my determination though and felt helpless because the situation in France is very tense and it’s taking a toll on me. So thank you for giving me hope again, for making me realize that love and humanity are stronger than hate, for making my objectives even clearer, and for giving me the courage to keep going in order to change the world and the opinions of people around me.

So yeah, I’m sorry for this very long message, I don’t have any role model around me, I don’t have anyone who truly understands my vision and my dreams, so finding your website means a lot to me.

The world needs this, really. I apologize if my text is sometimes messy, English is not my main language so it can get quite…awkward.

Anyway, thank you for restoring my faith in humanity. Thank you to you, your family and other volunteers, and Mez of course, and other refugees. The Tribe.

Hoping to see you, lots of love from Paris, to you, and Mez, and Noor, and to so many others


Photo by our boy Abdulazez Dukhan

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