“The insults are easier
than your child body
in pieces.” – Warsan Shire
It’s not the tear gas in Hungary or ships being forced to turn away in Italy.
My own country – Lithuania – seems to be turning in terms of its immigration policy.
(Iraq, also known as the place where Lithuania sent troops to support the US’s illegal invasion)
After 30 years of proud independence, a razor wire barrier.
After 17 years of claiming to be good enough for the EU, a new law limiting the rights of asylum seekers.
The sarcasm in me wants to add that, technically, that IS good enough for the EU, yes!
The human in me wants to add that I am very deeply ashamed.
That I am very sorry.
Our humanity seems to be a test that’s never finished, and Lithuania has just entered a stage of this test for which it will surely be judged.
As Jurgis Valiukevicius writes in his article (in Lithuanian),
“It’s funny to see the hypocrisy of our leaders when it comes to democracy. Our politicians are the first to fight for democracy in the international arena: we speak out against Russia, China, Belarus, and anywhere where we find it convenient for us. Yet as soon as someone points to us and our allies, all criticism is lost.
Today, the Right pretends that it’s possible to protect Human Rights and to jail people for running away in search of a better life simultaneously. We have to admit that Lukashenko did pull a trick on us: he managed to turn the mirror back to us. We’re forced to ask ourselves: how democratic are we, really?”
And how human?
Forced migration is what I’ve studied, written about, and talked about in my podcast episodes.
Obviously, for me it’s all a choice and not a lived experience.
But it’s also a choice to speak out against de-humanising laws and practices, wherever we see them.
Sometimes, they’re far away from home.
Sometimes, they’re close to home.
Sometimes, they’re home.
“Home” is the title of a famous poem by Warsan Shire who I quote at the very beginning of this article.
Here’s her full poem.
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 neighbors 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 toilet
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
Talking about privilege can be uncomfortable, it can easily make us defensive, and it does have the power to prevent us from taking significant action. That’s why, we have to talk about it!
Although my articles didn’t stop, my podcast did take a needed break.
Now, I’m back for the second season of The Exploded Head. In its intro episode, I review what I’ve talked about already and give you some ideas of what I’ll be covering in the near future.
Seven years after Protective Edge, we find Gaza and its children living in conditions that are even more dire than before. The trauma inflicted by Israel’s attacks and by its total siege on the region continues. In fact, it is unfolding as we speak.
The Taliban has taken power in Afghanistan. It finally happened and it’s terrifying. “Kabul has fallen,” the press tells us.
But what’s next? How do we assess what happened, learn from it, and find the best ways to help the Afghan people now?
If you’re not an expert on International Law but if Israel’s recent attacks on Gaza looked like war crimes to you, your questions have now been answered.
War crimes: this is what Human Rights Watch has concluded in its recent report.
Dehumanisation is a prerequisite for some of the darkest things we’ve witnessed in our history. Slavery, genocides, torture, mass killings – just to name a few, and it’s one heavy list already. That’s why, we have to learn to notice it and to call it out.
On Pride Day – and Pride Month – let’s not forget that no society is truly great if it is not equally accepting and great to everyone. The LGBTQ rights situation around the world might be improving but there’s still a long way to go.
The protests in and outside of Palestine continue. Why? Because not much has changed, and nothing has improved. We’re seeing the same colonial practices, the same occupation, the same brutality by Israeli forces. In Jerusalem, throughout the West Bank, and all over historic Palestine. I encourage you to speak out against all of this.
Gaza might not be bombed anymore yet so much remains. The blockade, the occupation with all of its mechanism, apartheid, and so many questions.
One of these questions sounds simple but it so important to ask:
Who can hold Israel accountable?
Israel’s bombing of Gaza has stopped but that doesn’t change the main point here: the occupation stays, its mechanisms are active, and Israel has announced its plan to punish the people who have spoken out against its aggression.
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