Every now and then, we have the opportunity to share some of the thoughts turned into poetry by one of our editors. Ankit Naik wrote the poem about the refugee crisis. Remember those sad images of a young child, Alan Kurdi who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea? This is the poem A stranger’s blood.
The refugee crisis that Ankit refers to is the European migrant crisis. This crisis began in 2015 when people from Africa and Asia wanted to migrate to the European Union. They chose to travel the Mediterranean Sea. Some of them were lucky to arrive safely on European soil, while others lost their lives at sea.
Instead of what the (international) media and some European right-wing parties claim, these refugees aren’t economic migrants. Many of them chose to leave countries devastated by war and conflict. Those who are considered as economic migrants are simply on the run from hunger.
The list of those who fled their home and country is long. On this list, there are Yazidis, Assyrians, Mandeans, Iraqi and Afghani. Yes, according to research 58 % of these refugees are male. There is a good reason for this as many men chose to travel over the dangerous sea and start a new life for their families.
Hopes and dreams, those are shattered when thousands die at sea. Ankit transformed his emotions into a poem. He started writing after the tragedy that took place on September 2, 2015. Alan – initially reported as Aylan Kurdi – was a two- or three-year-old boy from Syria of Kurdish ethnicity. Together with his family, he tried to reach Europe and move on to Canada. Their journey ended on that tragic day.
Alan was not the only one who lost his life. However, in 2015 he became the face of the international crisis. Could this have been prevented? Probably. If the family of Alan was registered as refugees in Turkey, there would be a chance they would be able to travel to Canada, where their relatives lived. As they were Kurdish, this was denied by Turkish authorities. They made a deal with Muwafaka Alabash and Asem Alfrhad, who tried to smuggle the family together with more people to the Greek island Kos. As soon as the rubber inflatable boat made it into open water, the problems began. The journey came to an abrupt end and the body of Alan washed ashore at Bodrum (Turkey).
The images that were taken on September 2, 2015, dominated the news. We will not publish these images, we all know what they show. A lifeless body of a young child, that showed what this crisis led to. As Ankit states, the situation did not really get better, since that moment. That is why he wrote the poem A stranger’s blood.
A stranger’s blood
Blood that flows through my veins
also drips a shade of red,
The air I breathe, too, is the same
that plays around in your breath..
The ground I walk on is made
of the same earth upon which you tread..
The elements I become one with
are the same as you, in death..
And yet, some of you command
your hold on pieces of land!
Claiming them as yours and
us as encroachments…
And then, some of you offer ‘refuge’,
a roof on the head and some sand..
And highlight this basic humanity
as one of your achievements!
Home is a distant memory,
slowly fading away..
Skies spitting bombs and
bloodied corpses is all I see,
Hope too has lost all hope and
despair seems here to stay!
For all I do is never belong,
all I do is always flee..
Maybe we are cursed,
but we will let our lucks unfurl,
Our bodies have not given up,
our dreams haven’t gone terse..
We’ll claim back our place in
this man-eater world!
And shine the light again and
help this bleeding conscience nurse.