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Refuge

Friend and fellow ‘bleeding heart’ Chrissy found this and posted it to social media. I find it so powerful in the face of all that is happening right now as refugees – people, human beings like you and me, flee conflict; and what’s more – all that has been happening ever since the ‘civilised’ Western world proved to be better gunsmiths and more murderous killers than everyone else.

There is so much compassion to be seen from extraordinary ordinary people who do what they can do to help alleviate the suffering caused by the politics of the indifferent supported by the bigotry of ‘our national interests’. People who open their hearts and their homes in the face of jingoistic government rhetoric.

These simple words scream out – ‘We, too, are human beings!’

“Home” – by Somalian poet Warsan Shire

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well
your neighbours running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than the journey.

no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
pitied
no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

the –
go home blacks
refugees
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
savage
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off
or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child’s body
in pieces.

I want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
drown
save
be hungry
beg
forget pride
your survival is more important
no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
saying-
leave,
run away from me now
I don’t know what I’ve become
but I know that anywhere
is safer than here.

“HOME,” by Somalian poet Warsan Shire

warsan

12 thoughts on “Refuge

  1. Alan. Words help but pictures tell a bigger story. After months of Europe doing nothing just one picture from a Turkish Beach yesterday may have started the process to help desperate people. The peom is heartbreaking and can only have been written by one who knows what it’s like to be a refugee. I will be in you part of the world soon. Is anything happening there to help in Bodrum and Izmir. Today I read the British Government is going to take some people from the Turkish borders but not from the French Ports. We must do what we can to help and we can do a lot. Best wishes. Mary

  2. I suggest that we take Obama, Cameron and their families to one of the nastier areas of Syria and, being decent people, we allow them enough money to pay the people smugglers then watch them try to get out.
    No other way will they face up to their responsibilities.
    Helen Devries recently posted..Open the Cage and Let Them OutMy Profile

  3. Alan, I agree with Helen. Led by Obama, 5 years ago, EU ‘leaders’ were so gung-ho to overthrow Syria’s government. After all, it was so easy in Libya. They are the perpetrators of this horror and now try to pretend that ISIL came from nowhere. Thanks for posting this.
    seniordogsabroad recently posted..Unhappy CampersMy Profile

  4. This is a stunningly beautiful, moving poem and so, so painfully true. I have spoken to so many migrants and refugees coming through Italy in the past months and this poem sums up so much of what I have heard from them. Thank you for sharing it.

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