“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
An update, almost exactly a year later, on July 6, 2022:
Amnesty International has released a report accusing Lithuania of violating human rights of the asylum seekers, listing examples of inhumane and illegal behaviour.
It’s not news, but we have to make it news-worthy.
As voters in Brazil are choosing their representatives today, choosing their president can determine the country’s direction in ways that go beyond a specific party.
This election is extremely important not only because Brazil is a presidential republic (meaning, its president has significant powers) and world’s 12th economy. It’s because, to put it plainly, if Lula wins, the are fears of Bolsonaro not taking his political loss as leaders in democracies do – and that would have significant consequences for Brazil and the rest of the world.
What we’re seeing in Iran are widespread protests after the death of a young women, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of Iran’s moral police.
This looks like the beginning of a revolution. We have to believe in and stand with the women of Iran.
Our environment is making us sick.
And it’s not only the pollution and the toxins we are already aware of. These are the traumas we experience and pass on. Listen to how Dr. Gabor Maté, a trauma expert, explains it with so much compassion.
And although we have to do everything we can to help the people of Pakistan now, the bigger story is not about this country. This tragedy – a man-made disaster – is a harsh reminder that the people who are most contributing to our climate emergency are not necessarily the ones who are paying the price.
What is there to say after Israel’s most recent bombing of Gaza?
No matter how heart-breaking this devastation was, it didn’t reveal anything new about how Israel operates – nor how the world reacts when Palestinians under siege are being killed.
A publisher locked up for exposing war crimes of the empire — and all done in our name.
This is what has been happening to Julian Assange for the last ten years.
It is something huge, criminal, and extremely concerning. If you’re not following it or aren’t concerned about it, you should be.
Joe Biden is on a trip to the Middle East: he’s visiting Israel and Saudi Arabia. What this shows is how little respect – if at all – his presidency has for human rights. Apartheid, military occupation, killings of civilians, murdering of journalists – everything goes. And there is definitely no room for Palestinian human rights.
The people of Ecuador have just had a national strike – and won!
After more than two weeks of country-wide protests, the current government has agreed to meet their demands.
What was happening there and why?
To answer these questions, hear what two journalists reporting on Ecuador have to say.
We’d like to believe that we’re all on the march towards gender equality and ending gender-based violence – and in a way, we are – but its setbacks are obvious and horrifying.
They’re about women’s rights to their bodies, to making their own choices, and to making those choices without fear for their safety.
Although it was never “hidden” for the ones who are interested in Palestine, Israeli state violence can’t be more obvious now. Not to acknowledge it is not a matter of access to knowledge; it’s a matter of choice.
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