"HOME," by Somali poet Warsan Shire
no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well
your neighbours running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won't let you stay.
no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it's not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
and even then you carried the anthem under
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn't be going back.
you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough
go home blacks
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off
or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
or the insults are easier
than your child body
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
your survival is more important
no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
i dont know what i've become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here.
PEOPLE ACTING AND REACTING:
The Pope is coming; the Nuns are on the bus; the migrant women are walking 100 miles from Pennsylvania to welcome the Pope and hoping that he will speak out on their rights before the U.S. Congress. Yesterday I volunteered with CAUSA, an Oregon Latino advocacy organization, at their Citizenship Workshop for people who can qualify to become U.S. citizens. During my lunch break I walked outside and saw this mural at PCUN's leadership center, the people cry out: Si Se Puede - Justice, Human Rights NOW!!!!!
The human spirit will triumph over the Trumps of this world Love is stronger than hate! Always has been, always will.
ACTS OF COMPASSION:
Yesterday, September 5, 2015 NPR interviewed a Hungarian woman who had gone to the train station to help migrants from Syria who were trying to travel to Germany, but the Hungarian government said no. "Why are you here?" the reporter asked. "My government behavior compelled me to come." I understood that woman as I too have been and am compelled to act - to show compassion and to welcome the stranger.
The global migrant issue or crisis cannot be avoided. We need to address the root causes of migration - war, economic inequality, failed states and instability. One refugee in the New York Times 9/6/15) said: "I want to live in a stable country where I and my family will be safe." All European nations except Germany and Sweden are not accepting migrant refugees and we in the United States are not helping victims of war either in the Middle East or people fleeing violence and poverty in Central America.
THE PEOPLE ACT IN GUATEMALA!
As a long-term activist for human rights in Guatemala, I was absolutely thrilled and a little surprised that the people protests in Guatemala City and the threatened arrest of the President, Otto Perez Molina led to his resignation. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/04/world/americas/otto-perez-molina-guatemalan-president-resigns-amid-scandal.html?ribbon-ad-idx=4&rref=world/americas&module=Ribbon&version=context®ion=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Americas&pgtype=article
It is the Guatemalan people who spoke and marched and protested - We have had enough of corruption, human rights violations and lack of funding for education and health care. His resignation does not create immediately a new direction as today's elections are choices between candidates tied to the existing power structure. But it was significant that the business elite coalition did not defend him that opened the door for grassroots activists and middle class people to act to oust him.
A GUATEMALAN WOMAN DEPORTEE:
This past March I met a young woman from Guatemala who entered the United States without documents. She was apprehended and put into the private corporation operated detention center in Eloy, Arizona. I met her through a detention center visitor program sponsored through CIVIC nationally. http://www.endisolation.org/
My life has been about crossing borders and cultures and building bridges across the boundaries that normally divide. Have you crossed any borders in your life?