Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Voice of Refugees

Yaad-e-sarzamin mein bheega rehta hai

Dil ke kisi kone mein ek dard chhipa rehta hai (Urdu)

Distance from the motherland is always combined with some pain, which is often times sleeping in some little corner of our hearts. However, when this pain wakes up, little drops of tears find their way to our eyes.

For those of us who had to leave to their native country for a job or other reasons, there’s the opportunity to visit our dear ones and the places where we grew up. But there are those who are forced to depart from the land where they were born because of fear of death or persecution. They seek refuge in other countries, while many get accepted, many also get refused. Some wander from country to country/border to border to be able to survive, struggling for basic needs far away from all that knew and enjoyed growing up.

According to the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol defines a refugee as any person who “As a result of events occurring before 1 January 1951 and owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his [or her] nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail him [or her]self of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his [or her] former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”

In addition to being in a foreign place, refugees face suffering in different forms. Daoud Hari, in his book ‘The Translator’, talks about the Sudanese refugee women who were raped repeatedly in exchange of wood for daily cooking in the camps at the Chad border. Thanks to the good work of agencies like Red Cross and UNCHR, many refugees are able to obtain basic support. However, no assistance received in the foreign land can remove their desire to return with their head high and live freely in their own nation. Following is a humble effort to capture a small part of the pain that a refugees experience every day:

We were forced to migrate

Fear accompanies us

We yearn to go back,

Our home beckons us

Foreign is this place,

Foreign is the culture

With the memories and legends from our land

Our children, we nurture

Out of the walls of our homes,

We fear for our honor and dignity,

For no fault of our own,

We have been ripped off of our security

O, God almighty!

Did you forget us?

We too are your children

We beg you, protect us

O, power of humanity!

Come and assist us

We will do our share,

But please support us

We want to break up with fear

and make friends with hope

Far away, from the suffering and pain

With courage, we desire to elope

One day, the sun will truly shine

One day, our miseries will be over,

One day, we will return to our homes with smiles,

One day, our grief will have a closure

And if the Lord calls me before that,

I will make only one humble demand

that my soul makes the voyage to Him

through my beautiful motherland


  1. And if the Lord calls me before that,

    I will make only one humble demand

    that my soul makes the voyage to Him

    through my beautiful motherland

    Oh! wonderful presentation.
    अ मेरे प्यारे वतन,अ मेरे बिछुडे वतन
    तुझ पे दिल कुर्बां.

    My new post is awaiting you,Anjana ji.

  2. Nice, I am also currently involved in one of Project of UNHCR to Support Refugees in Delhi for livelihood Program of skill building and employment support. Many Afghanis, Simalu, Burmees and Chins are struggling for sustainable life with unbelievable challenges.

  3. Excellent expression,touching feelings,soft corner for mankind.I do congratulate you to pen down such a nice poem.God bless for more such commendable writings. Thanks.


Where Is My Mami?

This poem is based on conversations with people during my recent trip to Texas and desk review of what is going on in the US since the Zer...