The young princess cried out in delight: “What a beautiful boy!”
Her morning walk to the Nile River, where she takes her daily bathe, has turned into enchantment and she knew that life as she knows it, will by no means be the same again.
Never in her life had her eyes seen such a radiant picture. Clothed in white and warmly wrapped in a basket in a clump of reeds, there he was. His black eyes met her blue ones and instantly she knew this is it. Love at first sight.
Born into a Jewish family when Ramses II, the pharaoh of Egypt had ruled that all the Hebrew boys were to be killed at birth, his mother, Yocheved, could not stand for her son to be brutally killed. After hiding him for a few months until it wasn’t safe for him anymore, she decided to rather place him in a basket along the sides of the Nile River in the hope that he will be found and adopted.
The princess felt compassion and called him Moses which means “I drew him out of the water”, and unknowingly paid his own mother, to nurse him after the baby’s sister, Miriam, suggested it to her.
This story of the baby left in a river is not unique to Moses only. I remember the old story about the twins, Romelus and Remus who were born in Alba Longa, one of the historic Latin cities where Rome is today.
Rheo Silvia, their mother, was the daughter of the former king of this city who was displaced by his brother Amulius. When he became king, Amulius ordered the boys to be killed because he had seen them as a threat to the throne.
But fate prevails and instead of killing the boys, they were abandoned on the banks of the river Tiber and saved by the god Tiberinus. The boys survived and grew up as shepherds, totally unaware of their true identities. They were however destined for great things and due to their natural leadership skills and abilities, received enormous support from their new-found community.
Modern day war and conflict leads people to flee – mostly from war-torn Africa – to Europe. They flee from their own homes and from their families in the desperate pursuit of a better life. A life that ‘home’ can’t provide for them.
The majority of all refugees come from all over Africa to Libya which is the gateway to Europe. This migration process means sea crossing.
But not all are from war countries. Some are just anxious to escape the hopelessness of poverty and so thousands of migrants and refugees attempt the death-defying journey to Europe each year, with many crossing the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa in rubber dinghies and wooden boats.
One can only imagine how strong that desire must be to put themselves through the misery of disease, possible drowning and never reaching Europe.
Some might get asylum. Some might be sent home and some will disappear into unlawful limbo.
The hunger for power and greed like in the case of King Amulius and the Pharaoh of Egypt still prevail today.
The harsh reality is that:
“You only leave home when home won’t let you stay.”
“No one would leave home unless home chased you to the shore.”
“No one would leave home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear saying leave, run away from me now.”
These are the words in the poem ‘Home’ by Warsan Shire, a British-Somali poet.
But those who choose to save lives, will never stop. Like Pharaoh’s daughter when she adopted Moses. Like the god Tiberinus when he saved the twins Romulus and Remus and the Doctors without Borders on the Mediterranean seas.
Since January 2014, approximately 15 million migrants have made it on the Mediterranean journey. More than 10 000 have died but you have to understand – ‘No one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.’