We Are, Each of Us, Refugees

ref·u·gee noun: a person who flees for refuge or safety

“We are, each of us, refugees
when we flee from burning buildings
into the arms of our loving families.
When we flee from floods and earthquakes
to sleep on vouchsafed mats in sanctuaries.
We are, each of us, refugees
when we flee from abusive relationships
or shooters in cinemas
and shopping centres.

Sometimes it only takes a day
for our countries to persecute us
because of our race, religion, or opinion.
Sometimes it only takes a minute
for the missiles to rain down
and turn our towns into ruin and destitution.

We are, each of us, refugees
longing for that amniotic tranquillity,
dreaming of freedom and safety
when fences and barbed wires
will spring into walled gardens.

Lebanese, Sudanese, Libyan, and Syrian,
Yemeni, Somali, Palestinian, and Ethiopian,
like our brothers and sisters,
we are, each of us, refugees.
The bombs fell in their cafés and squares
where once poetry, dancing, and laughter prevailed.
Only their olive trees
remember music and merriment now
as their cities wail for departed children
without a funeral.

We are, each of us, refugees.
Don’t let stamped paper tell you any differently.
We have been fleeing for centuries
because to stay means getting bullets in our heads.
Because to stay means being hanged by our necks.
Because to stay means being jailed, raped, and left for dead.

But we can, each of us, serve as one another’s refuge
so they don’t board dinghies
when they can’t swim.
So they don’t climb walls
with snipers aimed at their chest.
So they don’t choose to remain
and be killed instead.

When home turns into hell,
you, too, will run
with tears in your eyes screaming rescue me!
and then you’ll know for certain:
you’ve always been a refugee.”


Kamand Kojouri


4 thoughts on “We Are, Each of Us, Refugees

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