Fleeing Refugees BY Abhimanyu Singh


We fled our homes
Fierce fighting broke out on our streets.
Now there’s no turning back,
Bombs turn homes to rubble.

We wandered for shelter for weeks,
My wife and I, two small kids.
We couldn’t take the stench in the camps,
Squeezed by thousands, hungry.
People going to Germany.

We trekked to the sea,
Kids in arms in sweltering heat,
Over unforgiving terrain.
We heard of people drowning,
Their boats tossed like weeds
While crossing to Europe.

Our suffering so great,
We were ready to die,
And so end our misery.
Not to be left behind,
We raced towards Germany,
Welcoming us to live in peace.

We crossed the sea in the middle of night,
Made our way in darkness across the beach.
Couldn’t escape the police net.
They searched our body and belongings,
And cursed us of no worth.
Derisively told us to get lost,
And dare not show our faces again.

Exhausted and weak, we pushed ahead,
Picking morsels of food to survive.
Asking passing vehicles to give us lift.
Some took pity on the helpless infants, obliged.

The crowd thickened
As we came upon the Hungarian border.
A barricade of razor-sharp wire
Barred our way.
Our dreams crushed,
We sat at the barrier in sun and rain,
Huddled at night under the chilly sky,
Chanting ‘Germany! Germany!
Shoot us dead!
We’ll not move.’

Women and children in front.
A crazy crowd
Rushed to the front,
Pulling the barrier down.
The Hungarians rained gas, water cannons and truncheons.
Blinded, we were struck down.
Children shrieked in fear.
A few jumped over the razor-sharp wire,
Their torn flesh smeared in blood.
The cops pinned them down,
Sent them to rot in jail.
News poured in of people dead,
Dead infants being washed up onshores.
Corpses dumped by wayside.
The media’s compassion
Was little comfort
As country after country
Set up walls to turn us away.

We were only seeking haven
To better our children’s lives.
But felt we were pariah dogs,
Shunned by everyone.
Whatever happened to humanity?
Morality banished?
The mighty fought over us in Syria?
Reduced to piles of misery?
We have not lost hope,
We have come far by Allah’s grace.
Our journey’s end is within sight,
Inshallah! We’ll get there soon.

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  1. Subir Sen

    A deeply moving, soul-stirring poem. Thank you so much Abhimanyu. And although I have seen that horrific image of that dead toddler umpteen times, a lump still rises to my throat every time I see it.

    When the refugees from Syria started pouring in to the three neighbouring countries which had kept their door open four years ago, viz Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey (in contrast to Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Gulf countries), the world hardly noticed and bothered. It’s only when these countries after taking in over four and a half million refugees (every fourth person in Lebanon is now a Syrian refugee) could not take in any more about an year ago with its infrastructure creaking, did these desperate people started making desperate attempts to go to Europe with leaky makeshift boats and whatnot. And that is when Europe started getting worried. And that is when countries like Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia openly said that they will only grant asylum to Christian refugees. .

  2. Subir Sen

    Some further reflections on afterthought :-

    1. Why does a large section of the western media keep on referring to these hapless people as “migrants” ? The term “migrant” especially in the developed world has a negative connotation. They are supposed to take away jobs from the “natives”. These unfortunate Syrians are fleeing their motherland, as they do not want to be maimed or killed. They are seeking safe haven. They are “refugees”. Is the use of the term “migrant” deliberate as they are not Caucasians and horror of horrors— Muslims ?

    2. Why does the western media rarely discuss the “root cause” which created this mess in the first place ? Without understanding the complexities and intricacies of the situation in the Middle East, the U.S.blindly took an anti Assad stance just as George Bush had done earlier in Iraq. C.I.A continues to fund and arm the so-called anti Assad moderates while ISIS is being patronised by Saudi Arabia supposedly a staunch U.S. ally.There has to be a political solution involving all parties including the Iraqis, Kurds, the West, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Otherwise blood will keep flowing and innocent lives will continued to be lost.


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