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