Have Sight, Lack Vision

March 25, 2016

A long time ago, there lived a very wealthy man. He had an incurable affliction. His eyes were in constant pain – excruciating pain. For years, he looked far and wide for relief. At last, a monk, who had the expertise to treat such an ailment, was found. The monk prescribed a remedy: the man should only look at the colour green – his gaze should not fall upon any other colour. The rich man and his staff got into action right away. His palatial house, furniture and everything he could possibly see was painted in green or covered in green.  A few weeks later, when the monk came to visit him dressed in his maroon robes, the staff poured buckets of green paint on him too. Drenched in paint, the monk laughed and with great wisdom simply said, ‘If only you had bought a pair of green tinted spectacles, you could have saved so much money and effort…. You can’t paint the world green.’

The moral of the story: Let’s alter how we look at things. If only we could apply the monk’s simple strategy as a principle for life.  Altering our perspective to accommodate our needs and also the limitations of others will only improve relationships, bring peace and happiness.

The story makes me wonder: would the wealthy man have pursued his extravagant strategy had he not been so rich?

The story could also offer lessons for the ongoing European eyesore: the migrant crisis. The recent agreement signed between the European Union (EU) and Turkey to deal with the migrant crisis is disturbing. According to the agreement, the EU will disburse 3 billion euros already pledged to Turkey and provide a further 3 billion by 2018. Turkey will take back all migrants and refugees, who cross over to Greece illegally across the sea. In return, the EU will take in thousands of Syrian refugees from Turkey and move towards granting Turkey membership to the EU.

The refugee crisis has left Europe divided and confused, struggling to find a solution.  First, the refugees were welcomed. Then fences came up. And now, irregular refugees are to be returned. There is no clear plan in place to manage this reverse migration and protect the rights of those who will be returned. Will Turkey provide all of them the right to asylum, the right to work, the right to a dignified life? How will this agreement stop migrants seeking alternative routes to reach Europe? As per BBC reports, there has been a spike in migrant traffic along the very dangerous sea route across the Strait of Sicily.

So the rich nations appear to have discovered a wealthy solution to the tragic humanitarian crisis. Seen through the prism of life, this solution is painfully off colour considering that the rights of refugees stand to be sacrificed at the political altar of wealth.