In the evenings I am reading few pages of J.R.R. Tokien’s Lord of the Rings to my daughters. We are into Book I: The Fellowship of the Ring. Frodo and his friends have just arrived at the village of Bree and are spending the night at the Prancing Pony. Tonight they have joined other travellers in the pub to hear their stories. They hear this:
There was trouble away in the South and it seemed that the men who had come up the Greenway were on the move, looking for lands where they could find some peace.
The Bree-folk were sympathetic, but plainly not very ready to take a large number of strangers into their little land. One of the travellers, a squint-eyed, ill-favoured fellow, was foretelling that more and more people would be coming north, in the near future. If rooms isn’t found for them, they will find it for themselves. They’ve a right to live, same as other folks, he said loudly. The local inhabitants did not look pleased at the prospect.
Tolkien wrote this in 1954. The memory of the destruction caused by the second world war still fresh. To me, while I was reading these words to my daughters, they reminded me the thousands of refugees from Surya queueing at the EU border, the people who try to cross the Mediterranean every day to reach Italy, Spain, and other countries. The many who dies doing so. Tolkiens’s words from the past are still today’s words.