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 loving families.
When we flee from floods and earthquakes
to sleep on blue mats in community centres.
We are, each of us, refugees
when we flee from abusive relationships,
and shooters in cinemas
and shopping centres.

Sometimes it takes only a day
for our countries to persecute us
because of our creed, race, or sexual orientation.
Sometimes it takes only a minute
for the missiles to rain down
and leave our towns in ruin and destitution.

We are, each of us, refugees
longing for that amniotic tranquillity
dreaming of freedom and safety
when fences and barbed wires 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 differently.
We’ve 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 we don’t board dinghies when we can’t swim
so we don’t climb walls with snipers aimed at our chest
so we don’t choose to remain and die 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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