Refugees are running for lives

To the editor:

Unless you are are in their shoes, it is hard to know the desperation of refugees running for their lives. Until their story is understood with empathy, it is hard for locals to see them as anything but invaders. That is true today as it was 100 years ago.

This is not about Central American youth escaping MS-13 gang recruitment in El Salvador today. This is about Finnish youth escaping Czar Nicolas recruitment of Finns to fight Germany 100 years ago. A large number of young Finns piled into ships that landed in Canada. Those young men snuck across the US northern border as “illegal aliens” to the “sanctuary cities” of Michigan’s U.P. Because the story of their plight was listened to with empathy by their fellow Finns, they were welcomed. They produced “anchor babies,” who are now the grandparents of our present Finnish population.

Tom Dumble