The Following is an Op-ed written to the editors of the Minas Tirith Times by Saruman, Head of the White Council :
One of the major challenges that we face today, on a global scale, is how to protect people who have been forced, by armed conflict, human right abuse or other forms of persecution to flee their homelands.
Overwhelmingly, refugees do not willingly leave their homes and families. They do not come to Gondor seeking financial advancement. Most do not even leave with a final destination in mind.
They leave because of the fear of what will happen to them if they don’t.
They leave because of the persecution and abuse that they have faced on a daily basis.
As a country, Gondor shares responsibility with the rest of the international community, for protecting these refugees by offering them a place where they can be safe.
When we accept refugees into our community, we are offering them the chance to live a secure and stable life free from fear.
Freedom From Fear. Why? Because, sadly, fear is a very powerful emotion. It drives people to do things they would have never considered before.
It drives them to undertake the most perilous journey imaginable that of a person fleeing across and international border and into the unknown.
These journeys are often met with hunger, disease, more violence and even death.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel.
These people are being given another chance – Free From Fear – to build a new life, to live in safety as warmly welcome and dignified members of the Gondornian community.
They come as ordinary, humble people. They are teachers, doctors, labourers and carers. They are mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. They are people. They are people who grace us with their presence . . . who enhance our diversity . . . who teach us their customs . . . and enrich our shared community. Gondor has a proud tradition of accepting migrants and refugees and are the better for it. Refugees and refugee communities are valued members of any society.
It is important to remember that difficulties refugees face with they first arrive. Having fled for their lives, often leaving family and loved ones behind, refugees face a new set of challenges.
How do I communicate in a foreign language? How do I find somewhere to live? Will I be able to support my family? And perhaps one of the most difficult questions … How do I recover from the trauma I experienced? These are not easy questions to answer but rest assured we must help in any way we can.
As a community, we must work together to ensure that these people are made to feel welcome and given the assistance they need. As we look towards the future, the resettlement focus will continue to be on refugees from the three key regions of Gondor, Rohan and yes, even Rivendell, with equal proportions of arrivals from each.
It is important that we silence the voices of our own fear. That we not give in to the xenophobia and hate. We must focus on the suffering and plight of these refugees who need us so desperately. Let us not talk of walls. Let us ask what we can do to help ease the pain.
Their homeland, Mordor is ruled by a tyrant. A dictator who is torturing and conscripting them. He has poisoned their lands and ruined their environment to the point that it is uninhabitable. The air itself is poison, from the chemical weapons he’s used on his own people. His Nazgul torment them from the air. And the Eagles attacking them only make the suffering below even worse… as their violence spills down. We must create a no fly zone to keep these refugees safe and Free from Fear. If that means shooting down the Eagles as well as the Nazgul… so be it.
This is the Third Age. 3018. It is time to move past the out-dated racism and xenophobia of the past.
On behalf of the White Council and all Istari, I beg you, and I thank you.
Your humble servant,