I have to admit, that until earlier today, I didn’t know as much as I should have about the refugee crisis. I owned up to this and watched some documentaries so I was up to date on the catastrophe and able to picture and feel what fellow humans are going through at this very minute in time.
I specifically concentrated on videos about young people, purely because of my interest in YA and MG grade writing. I am also working on a series of YA stories and one of the characters is set to be a refugee in the UK so it was good to gather some imagery and learn about real life experiences. I came to the realisation that we are ALL dwellers of the earth. Roaming free on this beautiful planet should not be this difficult, especially if our lives are at stake. We all deserve the freedom to jump from rock to rock, whether it means fleeing war, starting a fresh life for our families, or simply seeking adventure.
I was completely taken in by each refugee’s story. The traumatic after effects of these eight to eighteen year olds is horrifying. So many are still in camps, some waiting to be assigned a new location to reside in, and for others their destiny is still an uncertainty.
Two quotes in particular really stood out to me. One father said; “Imagine yourself in our place. You are human, we are human, you have kids, we have kids”. Another refugee stated; “We just need politicians to listen to their hearts and act like human beings”.
These emotional statements compelled me to collate some stories in the form of a poem, which I have entitled Be A Human Being.
Be A Human Being
I used to be a child but now I play Father AND Mother
All because they dropped bombs and started war with one another
I troop on for the sake of my dear sister and brother
Even though when I lay my head all I do is shudder
I can’t close my eyes or fall fast asleep
Because I wake with fright to the sound of bombs by my feet
An explosion, a bright light, bricks land on my bed
“It’s all in your mind”; that’s what the nurse said
The war stole our green garden, our orange trees, our smiles
We’ve been living in these old tents now for such a long while
I search through the garbage my hands raw and red
Selling trash for money so we can buy bread
The cold sets in whilst no answers arrive
No one gives me an explanation as to why
Mother’s gone, Father’s gone, Grandma was lost in a blaze
All I have for comfort is this woolly old hat today
My brother lost his voice and hasn’t spoken for a year
My sister has convulsions all because of fear
The hospital can’t help us and are packed to the brim
Death seems far easier than the fight to survive and win
What about the eyes behind the guns that caused this war?
WE had no say in this decision made poor
If the eyes dropped their weapons and said; “We will NOT!”
Who would fight? No one would fight. Father wouldn’t have been shot!
We didn’t know these people who had problems to resolve
What have we done to them? Yet they put OUR lives on hold
We all had dreams, a future, an education to gain
But now we are imprisoned, our ambitions pained
I used to dream about what I was going to be
A footballer or maybe the president of my country
Waiting, wondering, pondering in this muddy hell
Another year passes I thank God I am alive and well
Please hold up a Welcome sign and take us through your border
These invisible walls have only ever caused disorder
I am human, you are human, what if you were me?
Listen to your heart, we need your help, can’t you see?
By Gina Harrison (A Human Being Born in the UK)