We live in a world of uncertainties. Every day, we are bombarded with news that is replete with violence towards refugees. But, where does that violence brood from? I think it is the fear of and hatred towards the unknown. But refugees are not different people. They are ordinary human beings, like us. Circumstances forced them to become refugees.
Globalization has undoubtedly made the world a smaller place where it is easier for people to travel to different places, discover new cultures, meet new people and engage with them. But it has also resulted into protectionism, xenophobia or jingoism.
Nonetheless, the need of the hour is that we understand that the only thing that can save us all is empathy and humanity, and not hatred or antipathy.
Recently I came across an amazing poem that truly mesmerized me. This poem touched me so deeply that by the end, I was absolutely stupefied by the current of emotions that flowed within.
Go Back To Your Own Country – Poem on refugees
In the queue for ration,
Pran Nath patiently awaits his turn…
Only to be told that there is none left for him today.
He must come again tomorrow.
The people are considerate.
They don’t say it on his face,
“We have no ration for you. Go and starve to death!”
the schools and hospitals
Mouneer Kalthoum built have turned into ruins.
His $60000 a year has plunged to $4000,
from pushing cloth through sewing machines,
even though he can build structures
about 50 times bigger than what he now lives in.
He settles for much less than what he deserves,
for he must not steal jobs in a refuge country.
7-year-old Dania lies mutilated in a hospital bed,
several miles away from her home,
that one night fell like a deck of cards,
when the bomb came off the sky
like a disoriented but determined shooting star
and the walls came crashing down,
upon her cousins, uncle, aunt
seconds before their final draw of breath,
their failing of hearts.
She wants to walk to a home
that does not devour Abu and Ammi.
But she is terrified.
She thinks all walls are about to crumble
and all roofs are about to fall.
Young Indu has grown wiser;
she doesn’t insist for home or cry anymore.
She sits by the door, every day, wondering,
Where have all the chinars disappear?
Where is home?
The atlas shows a spring that has lasted 6 winters.
The ice’s melting,
our governments assassinating opinions,
our leaders regressing.
It shows us in the vast blue oceans of irony
cutting holes in other boats,
when our own in sinking.
But while we complain “Government did this, Government did that”,
we forget our drawbacks.
We forget that we’ve partitioned our own homes,
broken them into countries,
with boundaries, with enemies,
with the fear that every stranger is a threat.
We forget that we’ve shrunk our compassion
to as small as a room with four walls.
We live in pseudo-democracies,
where we aren’t represented by the state.
The state is represented by you and me.
And we go on
pretending, succumbing, adjusting.
There is so much we believe too easily,
Without trying to know,
we were taught, as children,
everyone gets their due,
and nobody’s left with lesser than they deserve.
Then, who are these people
who’ve frightened us and taught us
that our jobs will be snatched,
our lands will be captured,
for all that which isn’t even ours!
Who led us to fight amongst ourselves?
Who turned us into people we never were?
Who taught us to draw
political maps on the faces of people
that enter our countries?
Who taught us that
there are only 196 kinds of people
because there are 196 countries?
one earthquake, one civil cry
short of becoming refugees
and that speaks a lot about
the fault lines under our own
And look at our audacity to say –
“GO BACK TO YOUR OWN COUNTRY!”
Somewhere in Jammu,
Pran Nath now teaches kids in schools that
beneath the ground,
there are no borders,
no nations, no countries,
no communities, no ideologies.
And it is only wise,
to realize this,
before we all go below the ground.
You can watch the original poem here, performed by Ankita Shah and Ramneek Singh, edited by Simar Singh and produced by Tuning Fox Studios, on the YouTube channel “UnErase Poetry”.