It is not enough to say imagine if you were a refugee.
It is not enough to see heartbreaking images of refugees.
It’s never enough to say it’s their problem.
Crying children, hungry, scared.
Sick children and the elderly.
What does it mean to be
violently displaced? Your roots cut.
To become nameless, faceless
as you blend into a sea of faces around you.
The United Nations will send some aid.
Civilized nations will help, too. Reluctantly.
Humanitarians will call for attention,
mobilize whoever they can.
What does it mean that your home is no longer safe?
That your savings have evaporated,
your job vanished, your house flattened, your family killed?
What does it mean to walk a thousand miles,
cross borders, and take refuge?
Memories vanish as you struggle to stay alive at dark.
Calling on a human-brother’s goodwill…
alas, a mostly bankrupted will.
Being stuffed in camps, living under tents…
Indefinitely postponing your medical needs.
No phone calls to make or emails to send.
No papers to read or news to watch.
You are the headline, what others are watching.
What does it mean to survive a war?
To be denied entry?
Turned down, refused, rejected once more?
I don’t know. I wish to never know.
I can’t even ask you to tell me.
My heart is not strong enough.
My own children… I can’t even imagine.
Too much – impossible –
If you are angry, I understand.
If you hate me, I understand.
Will I share what I have with you? I will.
But the bureaucrats at the borders,
in consulates, parliaments,
and some on the streets
may not let you in.
I will do my best to change that.
Until then, I will think of you.