In Honour of International Refugee Day

The Refugee’s Rebuke

I will be stronger, so say you,
But you don’t live this nightmare through.

You live in peace and safety there
And know not war, and yet you dare

To say to me, I should not fear?
You’d not say that if you lived here.

I live with grief, I live with strife,
I’ve lived with war throughout my life.

I see the bodies in the street,
Heads and torsos, limbs and feet.

I see the shredded blood-soaked clothing,
I see the hate, I see the loathing.

I hear my children’s night time cries.
They dream that death lives in the skies.

Safety’s secure as shifting sands,
No choice but to escape these lands.

Our homes are bombed, our neighbours dead,
And we survivors live in dread.

We hear the bombs and bullets flying.
We hear the cries of people dying

All in the name of righteousness.
A lie! It’s human spitefulness

Born of envy, fueled by hate,
That drives us to this horrid state.

A bullet’s not the dove of peace.
A bomb will never bring surcease.

“God’s on our side,” our leaders cry.
With that, they try to justify

The bombs and mortars that rain down
On every neighbourhood and town.

Out of that death, what do they gain?
An inch of land? A glorious name?

While those of us who live in tents,
Our lives destroyed, our homeland rent,

We bear the brunt of heinous deeds
Regardless of our race and creed.

So you who sit in easy chairs
And crow about the alms you share,

I say to you, please, hear our voice.
Armageddon’s not our choice.

Like you, we long for days of peace.
Like you, we pray that war will cease.

And like your children – safe, secure –
We want that ours can go to school

And learn that kindness, gentleness
Will out-trump hate, intolerance,

And make this world a better place
For everyone of every race.

(Inspired, in part, by the aphorism, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”)

#InternationalRefugeeDay #Refugees #War #Genocide #Persecution #Poem #MargaretGHanna