Your cart is currently empty!
I cannot debate the rights or wrongs of war because, besides not being aptly qualified, my simplistic view is that in most wars there are no right sides; a view that lacks nuance or allows for exceptions. Conflict hardly leads to lasting peace without creating silos of hate and terror and mistrust. So I cannot debate the details of this war without making incoherent and tangentially crass arguments that run the danger of putting one set of lives above others; enough talking heads are doing just that. But what I can talk about is the human facet of war and its displacement of people from their homes as casualties of war. They will be forced to seek shelter elsewhere and world governments will debate their humanity as if to the highest bidder, carving up spaces and places for them to go without feeling for the human. These clinical conversations amongst world leaders are without much consideration for the human emotion trapped within. Soon enough there’ll be a refugee crisis. Summits will be held by the UN and strategies developed on how best to help “them” and what to do with “them” language will be employed to create distance, as if there were no witnesses to the massacres of their lineage. They will be displaced from the land that they have known all their lives, only to be made to feel unwelcome in the lands unfamiliar to them. People will wonder why they simply cannot fit into this new way of life, as if this was their choice. They will be expected to try on this new society for size and shrink themselves to fit in. Apart from the self, culture is often a victim of these displacements. It’s a new life, and for some, a new form of mental torture.
Governments often fail to consider the mental cost of wars, not only to those who have little option but to fight in their disputes, a dispute not of their making, but also those who barely escape with their lives. They live with unimaginable horrors whilst trying to fit into strange lands and learn it’s ways and it’s stories and it’s tongues, adapting it as their own whilst holding on to their own stories, remembering the home they left behind. The many lives and laughs and memories… all gone never to be forgotten, hopefully, and maybe one day when the world has stopped debating their humanity they will return to a land that truly remembers the essence of their being in a way that the world outside never really could. Because home is not simply a place it is a feeling, one the wider world never truly understands.
Refugees. Let us remember them in kind because wars makes refugees of us all in the end.
Those of us who grew up in colonised lands know this feeling. We’ve lived with this, some of us our whole lives. We’ve learned new cultures and tongues whilst holding on to those that raised us; the familiar dialects which tells our stories. We adopted new homes and adapted to islands that made strangers of us at first; unsure if we were invaders and not the invaded. Our stories sometimes do not feel like ours but we keep reaching as far back as our memories will take us fearful that we will forget. Desperate not to ever forget as we straddle this new, unknown to us, world. Refugees walk the grounds that feel unfamiliar to them hoping to find home, whilst holding on to the memory of where was once home. As Oliver Wendell Holmes puts it: where we love is home that our feet may leave but not our hearts. And so they make new homes on these strange lands. Sometimes it’s an instant, other times, a life time, but with time, it comes to know them, strange lands that one day embed themselves into their hearts because love has sipped through the cracks made by wars, wars of which they wanted no part. Strangers will be kind to them, because at our core, we are inherently good, they will swap stories about their homelands, hoping to impart knowledge of what small piece of themselves they can. They will come to know these new and strange lands as their own. To live and love. To know and love. To be and love. And love. Because that is what is most needed in these darkest of times, as the bodies pile up and taste in mouths turns to ash from clouds made by bombs dropped on babies who will never get a chance to find new homes. Their homes live in our memories and we are tortured to madness by the lives, all the lives, that could have been lived. And if they die away from their homeland, this new adopted land that provided refuge to them will remember them because their stories were shared and the winds will carry their words and hopes and dreams that we may live it for them, in peace. And love. Because that is what we need now, the most. And love.