Refugee Day Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Refugee Day. Here they are! All 100 of them:

I want to lay down, but these countries are like uncles who touch you when you're young and asleep. Look at all these borders foaming at the mouth with bodies broken and desperate...I spent days and nights in the stomach of the truck; I did not come out the same. Sometimes it feels like someone else is wearing my body.
Warsan Shire (Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth)
Refugees didn’t just escape a place. They had to escape a thousand memories until they’d put enough time and distance between them and their misery to wake to a better day.
Nadia Hashimi (When the Moon is Low)
People are so obsessed with that these days. As long as you're healthy, what difference do a few pounds make? Crazy diets. Thirteen-year-old girls on magazine covers who wind up in hospitals because they're so anorexic. Real women don't look like that. And who wants them to? No one wants a woman who looks sick or like she;s been from a refugee camp.
Danielle Steel (Big Girl)
It is the story that lies around the edges of the photographs, or at the end of newspaper account. It's about the lies we tell others to protect them, and about the lies we tell ourselves in order not to acknowledge what we can't bear: that we are alive, for instance, and eating lunch, while bombs are falling, and refugees are crammed into camps, and the news comes toward us every hour of the day. And what, in the end, do we do?
Sarah Blake (The Postmistress)
My mother used to say that rain here pours like a blessing, like a thick veil that parts to reveal the bride's face. But nearly every day, when this rain parted, it revealed a long line of soldiers, like you, like death, marching toward us, and we would scatter with a practiced silence and hide.
Mia Kirshner (I Live Here)
Elsewhere there are no mobile phones. Elsewhere sleep is deep and the mornings are wonderful. Elsewhere art is endless, exhibitions are free and galleries are open twenty-four hours a day. Elsewhere alcohol is a joke that everybody finds funny. Elsewhere everybody is as welcoming as they’d be if you’d come home after a very long time away and they’d really missed you. Elsewhere nobody stops you in the street and says, are you a Catholic or a Protestant, and when you say neither, I’m a Muslim, then says yeah but are you a Catholic Muslim or a Protestant Muslim? Elsewhere there are no religions. Elsewhere there are no borders. Elsewhere nobody is a refugee or an asylum seeker whose worth can be decided about by a government. Elsewhere nobody is something to be decided about by anybody. Elsewhere there are no preconceptions. Elsewhere all wrongs are righted. Elsewhere the supermarkets don’t own us. Elsewhere we use our hands for cups and the rivers are clean and drinkable. Elsewhere the words of the politicians are nourishing to the heart. Elsewhere charlatans are known for their wisdom. Elsewhere history has been kind. Elsewhere nobody would ever say the words bring back the death penalty. Elsewhere the graves of the dead are empty and their spirits fly above the cities in instinctual, shapeshifting formations that astound the eye. Elsewhere poems cancel imprisonment. Elsewhere we do time differently. Every time I travel, I head for it. Every time I come home, I look for it.
Ali Smith (Public library and other stories)
HOME 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 your neck and even then you carried the anthem under your breath only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets 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 under trains beneath carriages 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 pitied no one chooses refugee camps or strip searches where your body is left aching or prison, 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 the go home blacks refugees dirty immigrants asylum seekers sucking our country dry niggers with their hands out they smell strange savage 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 your legs or the insults are easier to swallow than rubble than bone than your child body in pieces. 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 drown save be hunger beg forget pride your survival is more important no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear saying- leave, run away from me now i dont know what i’ve become but i know that anywhere is safer than here
Warsan Shire
It is not for you to say - you Englishmen, who have conquered your freedom so long ago, that you have conveniently forgotten what blood you shed, and what extremities you proceeded to in the conquering - it is not for you to say how far the worst of all exasperations may, or may not, carry the maddened men of an enslaved nation. The iron that has entered into our souls has gone too deep for you to find it. Leave the refugee alone! Laugh at him, distrust him, open your eyes in wonder at the secret self which smolders in him, sometimes under the every-day respectability and tranquility of a man like me - sometimes under the grinding poverty, the fierce squalor, of men less lucky, less pliable, less patient than I am - but judge us not. In the time of your first Charles you might have done us justice - the long luxury of your freedom has made you incapable of doing us justice now.
Wilkie Collins (The Woman in White)
I will never understand the whole world or even one country. All I can do is try to understand the truth and lies in the simplest choices I face every day.
Margarita Engle (Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba)
The news in those days was full of war and migrants and nativists, and it was full of fracturing too, of regions pulling away from nations, and cities pulling away from hinterlands, and it seemed that as everyone was coming together everyone was also moving apart. Without borders nations appeared to be becoming somewhat illusory, and people were questioning what role they had to play.
Mohsin Hamid (Exit West)
My only comfort was the knowledge that I was not alone. Huddled in the hallways and making the most of our pathetic French, my fellow students and I engaged in the sort of conversation commonly overheard in refugee camps. "Sometime me cry alone at night." "That be common for I, also, but be more strong, you. Much work and someday you talk pretty. People start love you soon. Maybe tomorrow, okay.
David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day)
He walks through the river of refugees and soldiers, giving purpose and direction to people who would otherwise be lost.
Susan Ee (World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2))
It never seemed to occur to Heather that Francisca might be a refugee from the dim and distant past—not even when she fainted at her first sight of an airliner. I’d have sussed it on the first day—which just goes to show why more science fiction should be included in the National Curriculum.
Ben Aaronovitch (Amongst Our Weapons (Rivers of London, #9))
Try to praise the mutilated world. Remember June’s long days, and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew. The nettles that methodically overgrow the abandoned homesteads of exiles. You must praise the mutilated world. You watched the stylish yachts and ships; one of them had a long trip ahead of it, while salty oblivion awaited others. You’ve seen the refugees heading nowhere, You’ve heard the executioners sing joyfully. You should praise the mutilated world. Remember the moments when we were together in a white room and the curtain fluttered. Return in thought to the concert where music flared. You gathered acorns in the park in autumn and leaves eddied over the earth's scars. Praise the mutilated world and the gray feathers a thrush lost, and the gentle light that strays and vanishes and returns.
Adam Zagajewski
There is a lesson in [Terezín] for those who conduct inspections in our day, whether in prisons, sweatshops, refugee camps, polling places, or nuclear facilities: do not trust––push; control your own schedule; do your homework. Remember the adage that a little knowledge can be dangerous. The truth is more likely to be served by a canceled or aborted inspection than by a whitewash.
Madeleine K. Albright (Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948)
Gaza 1948: "Gaza was not a refugee camp yet, just a place designated for Palestinian people when the state of Israel came begin. But day by day it filled up with people who had no place else to go to.
Izzeldin Abuelaish (I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity)
The Jews here are actually a single big refugee camp, and so are the Arabs. And now the Arabs live day by day with the disaster of their defeat, and the Jews live night by night with the dread of their vengeance.
Amos Oz (Judas)
It was ironic that the same people who had enacted nuclear war on the Homeworld, who presided over the refugee camps and rotted the ecosphere, had balked in the face of blood sport. Would they call us barbarians, those men of ancient days?
Christopher Ruocchio (Empire of Silence (Sun Eater, #1))
The loneliness of the arab is a terrible thing; it is all consuming. It is already present like a little shadow under the heart when he lays his head on his mother's lap; it threatens to swallow him whole when he leaves his own country, even though he marries and travels and talks to friends twenty-four hours a day. That is the way Sirine suspects that Arabs feel everything - larger than life, feelings walking in the sky.
Diana Abu-Jaber (Crescent)
1. Bangladesh.... In 1971 ... Kissinger overrode all advice in order to support the Pakistani generals in both their civilian massacre policy in East Bengal and their armed attack on India from West Pakistan.... This led to a moral and political catastrophe the effects of which are still sorely felt. Kissinger’s undisclosed reason for the ‘tilt’ was the supposed but never materialised ‘brokerage’ offered by the dictator Yahya Khan in the course of secret diplomacy between Nixon and China.... Of the new state of Bangladesh, Kissinger remarked coldly that it was ‘a basket case’ before turning his unsolicited expertise elsewhere. 2. Chile.... Kissinger had direct personal knowledge of the CIA’s plan to kidnap and murder General René Schneider, the head of the Chilean Armed Forces ... who refused to countenance military intervention in politics. In his hatred for the Allende Government, Kissinger even outdid Richard Helms ... who warned him that a coup in such a stable democracy would be hard to procure. The murder of Schneider nonetheless went ahead, at Kissinger’s urging and with American financing, just between Allende’s election and his confirmation.... This was one of the relatively few times that Mr Kissinger (his success in getting people to call him ‘Doctor’ is greater than that of most PhDs) involved himself in the assassination of a single named individual rather than the slaughter of anonymous thousands. His jocular remark on this occasion—‘I don’t see why we have to let a country go Marxist just because its people are irresponsible’—suggests he may have been having the best of times.... 3. Cyprus.... Kissinger approved of the preparations by Greek Cypriot fascists for the murder of President Makarios, and sanctioned the coup which tried to extend the rule of the Athens junta (a favoured client of his) to the island. When despite great waste of life this coup failed in its objective, which was also Kissinger’s, of enforced partition, Kissinger promiscuously switched sides to support an even bloodier intervention by Turkey. Thomas Boyatt ... went to Kissinger in advance of the anti-Makarios putsch and warned him that it could lead to a civil war. ‘Spare me the civics lecture,’ replied Kissinger, who as you can readily see had an aphorism for all occasions. 4. Kurdistan. Having endorsed the covert policy of supporting a Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq between 1974 and 1975, with ‘deniable’ assistance also provided by Israel and the Shah of Iran, Kissinger made it plain to his subordinates that the Kurds were not to be allowed to win, but were to be employed for their nuisance value alone. They were not to be told that this was the case, but soon found out when the Shah and Saddam Hussein composed their differences, and American aid to Kurdistan was cut off. Hardened CIA hands went to Kissinger ... for an aid programme for the many thousands of Kurdish refugees who were thus abruptly created.... The apercu of the day was: ‘foreign policy should not he confused with missionary work.’ Saddam Hussein heartily concurred. 5. East Timor. The day after Kissinger left Djakarta in 1975, the Armed Forces of Indonesia employed American weapons to invade and subjugate the independent former Portuguese colony of East Timor. Isaacson gives a figure of 100,000 deaths resulting from the occupation, or one-seventh of the population, and there are good judges who put this estimate on the low side. Kissinger was furious when news of his own collusion was leaked, because as well as breaking international law the Indonesians were also violating an agreement with the United States.... Monroe Leigh ... pointed out this awkward latter fact. Kissinger snapped: ‘The Israelis when they go into Lebanon—when was the last time we protested that?’ A good question, even if it did not and does not lie especially well in his mouth. It goes on and on and on until one cannot eat enough to vomit enough.
Christopher Hitchens
Compassion, understandings and respects are the key elements of humanity. To grow means, to embrace all - there is no space for hatred, exclusion and discrimination. To grow means more respect, more collaboration, more humanity, more integration and more support.
Amit Ray (Walking the Path of Compassion)
Human Rights, adopted as General Assembly Resolution 217 A (III), 10 December 1948, the day before Resolution 194 declared the unconditional right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.
Ilan Pappé (The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine)
If that’s the case for some baboon, just imagine humans. We have to learn our culture’s rationalizations and hypocrisies—thou shalt not kill, unless it’s one of them, in which case here’s a medal. Don’t lie, except if there’s a huge payoff, or it’s a profoundly good act (“Nope, no refugees hiding in my attic, no siree”). Laws to be followed strictly, laws to be ignored, laws to be resisted. Reconciling acting as if each day is your last with today being the first day of the rest of your life.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Determined: A Science of Life without Free Will)
By the end of 2014, UNHCR would record close to 60 million forcibly displaced people, 8 million more than in the previous year. Half of those were children. Every day that year, on average, 42,500 people became refugees, asylum seekers, or internally displaced, a fourfold increase in just four years.
Melissa Fleming (A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea: One Refugee's Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival)
Every day a person is born in Gaza into an open-air prison, in the West Bank without civil rights, in Israel with an inferior status by law, and in neighboring countries effectively condemned to lifelong refugee status, like their parents and grandparents before them, solely because they are Palestinian and not Jewish.
Human Rights Watch (A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution)
The question isn’t always which account of Christianity uses the Bible. The question is which does justice to as much of the biblical witness as possible. There are uses of Scripture that utter a false testimony about God. This is what we see in Satan’s use of Scripture in the wilderness. The problem isn’t that the Scriptures that Satan quoted were untrue, but when made to do the work that he wanted them to do, they distorted the biblical witness. This is my claim about the slave master exegesis of the antebellum South. The slave master arrangement of biblical material bore false witness about God. This remains true of quotations of the Bible in our own day that challenge our commitment to the refugee, the poor, and the disinherited.
Esau McCaulley (Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope)
It amazed me to see how quickly they got comfortable in the new apartment and settled into a routine, as if their lives had simply been excised and replaced elsewhere, intact, with just a dusting of grief they shook off before returning to the business of living. Maybe it was easier because the trauma of forced displacement was already well-known to them, and they understood how idleness and purposelessness could dull the mind, droop the eyelids, and seep too much sleep and despair into the day. They were experienced refugees, better equipped to handle recurring generational trauma.
Susan Abulhawa (Against the Loveless World)
Hunger takes away what you are. Everything we were was just nothing then.
Sebastian Barry (Days Without End (Days Without End, #1))
European refugee family, she had a strong temper and will. One day, for example,
Walter Isaacson (Steve Jobs)
I’m a refugee from happiness with nowhere else to go.
Lauren Fox (Days of Awe)
On September 16, in defiance of the cease-fire, Ariel Sharon’s army circled the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, where Fatima and Falasteen slept defenselessly without Yousef. Israeli soldiers set up checkpoints, barring the exit of refugees, and allowed their Lebanese Phalange allies into the camp. Israeli soldiers, perched on rooftops, watched through their binoculars during the day and at night lit the sky with flares to guide the path of the Phalange, who went from shelter to shelter in the refugee camps. Two days later, the first western journalists entered the camp and bore witness. Robert Fisk wrote of it in Pity the Nation: They were everywhere, in the road, the laneways, in the back yards and broken rooms, beneath crumpled masonry and across the top of garbage tips. When we had seen a hundred bodies, we stopped counting. Down every alleyway, there were corpses—women, young men, babies and grandparents—lying together in lazy and terrible profusion where they had been knifed or machine-gunned to death. Each corridor through the rubble produced more bodies. The patients at the Palestinian hospital had disappeared after gunmen ordered the doctors to leave. Everywhere, we found signs of hastily dug mass graves. Even while we were there, amid the evidence of such savagery, we could see the Israelis watching us. From the top of the tower block to the west, we could see them staring at us through field-glasses, scanning back and forth across the streets of corpses, the lenses of the binoculars sometimes flashing in the sun as their gaze ranged through the camp. Loren Jenkins [of the Washington Post] cursed a lot. Jenkins immediately realized that the Israeli defense minister would have to bear some responsibility for this horror. “Sharon!” he shouted. “That fucker [Ariel] Sharon! This is Deir Yassin all over again.
Susan Abulhawa (Mornings in Jenin)
The sky is scrubbed fresh and stark blue by the gone rain, but every trace of that water has evaporated from the earth around them. It feels like a dream, all that rainfall. 'This is a cycle,' she thinks. Every day a fresh horror, and when it's over, this feeling of surreal detachment. A disbelief, almost, in what they just endured. The mind is magical. Human beings are magical.
Jeanine Cummins (American Dirt)
The city of Paris, France, became a place of refuge for biracial Americans during slavery and at the time of the Harlem Renaissance for black musicians, fine artists, writers and others seeking opportunities to practice their craft free from American racism.
Sandra L. West (Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance (Facts on File Library of American History))
I have a rule: Anything that can be done privately does not need to be performed publicly. It’s why I love the gays but I hate their parades. Actually, I hate all parades. Marching to celebrate something you’re born as seems silly. (As I write this, St. Patrick’s Day is in full bore in Midtown. It’s delightful how celebrating a heritage requires you to pick fights with strangers and then pee in a parking garage. The upside—the sea of clover-painted drunks moving in unison—might be the only green energy I’ve ever seen work.) And what’s the point of a parade anyway? A bunch of yahoos who share some affinity, walking in one direction? Who decided this was entertainment? For previous generations, this was called a migration, or more often, refugees fleeing for their lives
Greg Gutfeld (The Joy of Hate: How to Triumph over Whiners in the Age of Phony Outrage)
As the landscape turned increasingly chaotic and murderous, the streams of refugees swelled. Another headlong, fearful escape of the kind that in collective dreams, in legends, would be misremembered and reimagined into pilgrimage or crusade ... the dark terror behind transmuted to a bright hope ahead, the bright hope becoming a popular, perhaps someday a national, delusion. Embedded invisibly in it would remain the ancient darkness, too awful to face, thriving, emerging in disguise, vigorous, evil, destructive, inextricable.
Thomas Pynchon (Against the Day)
I have grown up listening to my grandparents’ stories about ‘the other side’ of the border. But, as a child, this other side didn’t quite register as Pakistan, or not-India, but rather as some mythic land devoid of geographic borders, ethnicity and nationality. In fact, through their stories, I imagined it as a land with mango orchards, joint families, village settlements, endless lengths of ancestral fields extending into the horizon, and quaint local bazaars teeming with excitement on festive days. As a result, the history of my grandparents’ early lives in what became Pakistan essentially came across as a very idyllic, somewhat rural, version of happiness.
Aanchal Malhotra
Van Eck keeps the seal in a safe?” said Jesper with a laugh. “It’s almost like hewants us to take it. Kaz is better at making friends with combination locks than with people.” “You’ve never seen a safe like this,” Wylan said. “He had it installed after the DeKappel was stolen. It has a seven-digit combination that he resets every day, and the locks are built with false tumblers to confuse safecrackers.” Kaz shrugged. “Then we go around it. I’ll take expediency over finesse.” Wylan shook his head. “The safe walls are made of a unique alloy reinforced with Grisha steel.” “An explosion?” suggested Jesper. Kaz raised a brow. “I suspect Van Eck will notice that.” “A very small explosion?” Nina snorted. “You just want to blow something up.” “Actually…” said Wylan. He cocked his head to one side, as if he were listening to a distant song. “Come morning, there would be no hiding we’d been there, but if we can get the refugees out of the harbor before my father discovers the theft … I’m not exactly sure where I can get the materials, but it just might work.…” “Inej,” Jesper whispered. She leaned forward, peering at Wylan. “Is that scheming face?” “Possibly.” Wylan seemed to snap back to reality. “It is not. But … but I do think I have an idea.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
Meeting people whose life trajectories were so different from my own enlarged my way of thinking. Outside the school, arguments over refugees were raging, but the time I had spent inside the building showed me that those conversations were based on phantasms. People were debating their own fears. What I had witnessed taking place inside this school every day revealed the rhetoric for what it was: more propaganda than fact. Donald Trump appeared to believe his own assertions, but I hoped that in the years to come, more people would be able to recognize refugees for who they really were--simply the most vulnerable people on earth.
Helen Thorpe (The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom)
If you ask me, everyone is a little too interested in their children’s happiness. Ask anyone what they wish for their kids and they’ll all say they want them to be happy. Happy! Not empathetic contributing members of society. Not humble, wise and tolerant. Not strong in the face of adversity or grateful in the face of misfortune. I, on the other hand, have always wanted hardship for my kids. Real, honest hardship. Challenges big enough to make them empathetic and wise. Take the pregnant refugee girls I deal with every day. They’ve been through unimaginable hardships, and here they are working hard, contributing and grateful. What more could you want for your kids?
Sally Hepworth (The Mother-in-Law)
Refugee Malcolm Guite  We think of him as safe beneath the steeple,  Or cosy in a crib beside the font,  But he is with a million displaced people  On the long road of weariness and want.  For even as we sing our final carol  His family is up and on that road,  Fleeing the wrath of someone else’s quarrel,  Glancing behind and shouldering their load.  Whilst
Malcolm Guite (Waiting on the Word: A poem a day for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany)
If in answer to your inner voice screaming 'don't do it', you shake your head and do it anyway, I can guarantee your days will be more likely filled with respect and success.
Gregor Collins (The Accidental Caregiver: How I Met, Loved, and Lost Legendary Holocaust Refugee Maria Altmann)
The passengers weren't treated like refugees but rather long lose relatives.
Jim DeFede (The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland)
True self-determination—as refugees and prisoners show us every day—is the freedom to hold one’s own ideas, to live, however confined, in a spacious mind.
Sallie Tisdale (Advice for Future Corpses (and Those Who Love Them): A Practical Perspective on Death and Dying)
And there's a good chance the only one day I'll get is here and now.
Clare Atkins (Between Us)
Paris had by now extended its internment decree to include Austrian and Czecho-Slovakian refugees, so in the days that followed hundreds of new arrivals appeared in our camp.
Lion Feuchtwanger (The Devil in France: My Encounter with Him in the Summer of 1940)
It was never easy being a refugee, regardless of what people might never be able to see. Displaced from your truth, running away from the shell, counting the fears over the scars and the hell. It was never easy having a bullet at your head, scattering thoughts, dreams, ideas, on the pot of shame, left behind your day by prejudices and faked games. It was never easy being a refugee… But a torture of the body and the mind, shaping storylines to fit in, concealing the self in the maze of a pipe dream. Just to find the peace, the one that many of us takes for granted.
Simona Prilogan
IN my early days there were stories about funny refugees murdering the English language. A refugee woman goes to the greengrocer to buy red oranges (I mean red inside), very popular on the Continent and called blood oranges. ‘I want two pounds of bloody oranges.’ ‘What sort of oranges, dear?’ asked the greengrocer, a little puzzled. ‘Bloody oranges.’ ‘Hm...’ He thinks. ‘I see. For juice?’ ‘Yes, we are.’ Another story dates from two years later. By that time the paterfamilias — the orange-buying lady’s husband — has become terribly, terribly English. He meets an old friend in Regents Park, and instead of talking to him in good German, softly, he greets him in English, loudly. ‘Hallo, Weinstock.... Lovely day, isn’t it? Spring in the air.’ ‘Why should I?
George Mikes (How to Be a Brit)
Your dignity will never know cages and days without showering. Will never know the shame of running from a place because you weren't born disposable. If you feel threatened about living in a country full of sleek, dark, and beautiful creatures arriving on boats smiling and glowing though nobody has welcomed them, stop watching the news. Stay safe, with truths that bloom from kindness.
K. Eltinaé (The Moral Judgement of Butterflies)
I love cheetahs. Every moment of every day is spent in fear of dying a terrible death yet they always carry themselves elegantly, remain loyal to their family, and never complain about anything.
Gregor Collins (The Accidental Caregiver: How I Met, Loved, and Lost Legendary Holocaust Refugee Maria Altmann)
We walked into my mother's house at 10:30 in the morning at the end of February 1992. I had been gone for three weeks. She had been so desperate about us - she, too, looked thin and haggard. She was stunned to see me walk in, filthy and crawling with lice, with a huge crowd of starving people. We ate and drank clean water; then, before we even washed, I put Marian in a taxi with me and told the driver to go to Nairobi Hospital. We had no money left and I knew Nairobi Hospital was expensive; it was where I had been operated on when the ma'alim broke my skull. But I also knew that there they would help us first and ask to pay later. Saving the baby's life had become the only thing that mattered to me. At the reception desk I announced, "This baby is going to die," and the nurse's eyes went wide with horror. She took him and put a drip in his arm, and very slowly, this tiny shape seemed to uncrumple slightly. After a little while, his eyes opened. The nurse said, "The child will live," and told us to deal with the bill at the cash desk. I asked her who her director was, and found him, and told this middle-aged Indian doctor the whole story. I said I couldn't pay the bill. He took it and tore it up. He said it didn't matter. Then he told me how to look after the baby, and where to get rehydration salts, and we took a taxi home. Ma paid for the taxi and looked at me, her eyes round with respect. "Well done," she said. It was a rare compliment. In the next few days the baby began filling out, growing from a crumpled horror-movie image into a real baby, watchful, alive.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Infidel)
The overthrow of the communist regime is clearly its objective, but how far is it willing to go? While the Fraternity asks for donations to help refugees, these funds may possibly be going toward a Movement of armed refugees in Thailand. Rumors are that the Fraternity has invested in certain businesses whose profits it reaps. The most disappointing aspect of the Fraternity is the false hope it peddles to our countrymen that we can one day take our country back through force. We would be better off if we pursued reconciliation peacefully, in the hopes that one day we in exile can return to help rebuild our country.
Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer)
Life may have been hard, but we were happy. Yes, boys died and food was difficult to come by, but at least no one was shooting at us. We only ate one meal a day, but for me, coming into the camp at the age of six, I accepted this as normal. I never thought that life was unfair because I had to eat garbage. Instead, I looked at the scraps of food from the dump as a blessing. Not all the boys in the camp could do this. I knew some who chose to feel sorry for themselves, who complained constantly about their lot in life. What is the point of such complaining? After all the whining and complaining is over, you still live in a refugee camp. All the complaining in the world will not make your life any better. Instead, you must choose to make the best of whatever the situation in which you find yourself, even in a place like Kakuma.
Lopez Lomong (Running for My Life: One Lost Boy's Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games)
Their eyes were blank and hollow, like the eyes of refugees running from a war they didn’t understand and couldn’t escape. There were no tears. The time for tears was past. It was time to go, and none of us knew what was coming.
Seanan McGuire (An Artificial Night (October Daye #3))
This legendary effort—which Navajos who live around Canyon de Chelly insist to this day is entirely true—allowed the three hundred refugees on Fortress Rock to outlast the siege and slip from Carson’s long reach. They were never captured.
Hampton Sides (Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West)
The house was full. They had no idea how they were going to care for all those who had already come. He could only imagine the enormous burden she must be feeling, and now this? It wasn’t fair to her. As much as it pained him, he would have to say no. They weren’t running a refugee center. They were just putting up a few people for a few days. That was all. But before he could utter a word, Claire spoke. “Of course you can stay with us, Mr. Halévy. Come in; please come in.
Joel C. Rosenberg (The Auschwitz Escape)
am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation. I remember having repeated a hymn from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings: “As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.”. . . [T]he wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita [says]: “Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me.
Shashi Tharoor (India: From Midnight to the Millennium and Beyond)
During the 1980s, in California, a large number of Cambodian women went to their doctors with the same complaint: they could not see. The women were all war refugees. Before fleeing their homeland, they had witnessed the atrocities for which the Khmer Rouge, which had been in power from 1975 to 1979, was well known. Many of the women had been raped or tortured or otherwise brutalized. Most had seen family members murdered in front of them. One woman, who never again saw her husband and three children after soldiers came and took them away, said that she had lost her sight after having cried every day for four years. She was not the only one who appeared to have cried herself blind. Others suffered from blurred or partial vision, their eyes troubled by shadows and pains. The doctors examined the women - about a hundred and fifty in all - found that their eyes were normal. Further tests showed that their brains were normal as well. If the women were telling the truth - and there were some who doubted this, who thought the women might be malingering because they wanted attention or were hoping to collect disability - the only explanation was psychosomatic blindness. In other words, the women's minds, forced to take in so much horror and unable to take more, had managed to turn out the lights.
Sigrid Nunez (The Friend)
WikiLeaks told us how keen the Coalition is to exploit the boats. In late 2009, in the dying days of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership of the Opposition, a “key Liberal party strategist” popped in to the US embassy in Canberra to say how pleased the party was that refugee boats were, once again, making their way to Christmas Island. “The issue was ‘fantastic,’” he said. “And ‘the more boats that come the better.’” But he admitted they had yet to find a way to make the issue work in their favour: “his research indicated only a ‘slight trend’ towards the Coalition.
David Marr (Political Animal: The Making of Tony Abbott [Quarterly Essay 47])
Slowly, I started to enter more fully into the world of my refugee friends. As the days and months blended into years, I experienced strange paradoxes. The more I failed to communicate the love of God to my friends, the more I experienced it for myself. The more overwhelmed I felt as I became involved in the myriad of problems facing my friends who experience poverty in America, the less pressure I felt to attain success or wealth or prestige. And the more my world started to expand at my periphery, the more it became clear that life was more beautiful and more terrible than I had been told. The
D.L. Mayfield (Assimilate or Go Home: Notes from a Failed Missionary on Rediscovering Faith)
I was a broken half afloat in a great nowhere, and the trains were determined to keep me this way. Let me say this about those days, when the war was still a war, but one soon to end, when refugees were roaming and tanks lay overturned on their backs like great tortoises and one was wise to avoid the marching streams of any soldiers, be they Soviet or German: These trains we never should have trusted again, they appeared to be our only way home. And so people packed themselves into the cars quite willingly and looked the other way when they failed to arrive at their stated destinations. I marveled at our collective belief in an eventual safety.
Affinity Konar (Mischling)
He had lived in an apartment with books touching the ceilings, and rugs thick enough to hide dice; then in a room and a half with dirt floors; on forest floors, under unconcerned stars; under the floorboards of a Christian who, half a world and three-quarters of a century away, would have a tree planted to commemorate his righteousness; in a hole for so many days his knees would never wholly unbend; among Gypsies and partisans and half-decent Poles; in transit, refugee, and displaced persons camps; on a boat with a bottle with a boat that an insomniac agnostic had miraculously constructed inside it; on the other side of an ocean he would never wholly cross; above half a dozen grocery stores he killed himself fixing up and selling for small profits; beside a woman who rechecked the locks until she broke them, and died of old age at forty-two without a syllable of praise in her throat but the cells of her murdered mother still dividing in her brain; and finally, for the last quarter century, in a snow-globe-quiet Silver Spring split-level: ten pounds of Roman Vishniac bleaching on the coffee table; Enemies, A Love Story demagnetizing in the world’s last functional VCR; egg salad becoming bird flu in a refrigerator mummified with photographs of gorgeous, genius, tumorless great-grandchildren.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Here I Am)
In France’s equatorial African territories, where the region’s history is best documented, the amount of rubber-bearing land was far less than what Leopold controlled, but the rape was just as brutal. Almost all exploitable land was divided among concession companies. Forced labor, hostages, slave chains, starving porters, burned villages, paramilitary company “sentries,” and the chicotte were the order of the day. Thousands of refugees who had fled across the Congo River to escape Leopold’s regime eventually fled back to escape the French. The population loss in the rubber-rich equatorial rain forest owned by France is estimated, just as in Leopold’s Congo, at roughly 50 percent.
Adam Hochschild (King Leopold's Ghost)
In 1944-1945, Dr Ancel Keys, a specialist in nutrition and the inventor of the K-ration, led a carefully controlled yearlong study of starvation at the University of Minnesota Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene. It was hoped that the results would help relief workers in rehabilitating war refugees and concentration camp victims. The study participants were thirty-two conscientious objectors eager to contribute humanely to the war effort. By the experiment's end, much of their enthusiasm had vanished. Over a six-month semi-starvation period, they were required to lose an average of twenty-five percent of their body weight." [...] p193 p193-194 "...the men exhibited physical symptoms...their movements slowed, they felt weak and cold, their skin was dry, their hair fell out, they had edema. And the psychological changes were dramatic. "[...] p194 "The men became apathetic and depressed, and frustrated with their inability to concentrate or perform tasks in their usual manner. Six of the thirty-two were eventually diagnosed with severe "character neurosis," two of them bordering on psychosis. Socially, they ceased to care much about others; they grew intensely selfish and self-absorbed. Personal grooming and hygiene deteriorated, and the men were moody and irritable with one another. The lively and cooperative group spirit that had developed in the three-month control phase of the experiment evaporated. Most participants lost interest in group activities or decisions, saying it was too much trouble to deal with the others; some men became scapegoats or targets of aggression for the rest of the group. Food - one's own food - became the only thing that mattered. When the men did talk to one another, it was almost always about eating, hunger, weight loss, foods they dreamt of eating. They grew more obsessed with the subject of food, collecting recipes, studying cookbooks, drawing up menus. As time went on, they stretched their meals out longer and longer, sometimes taking two hours to eat small dinners. Keys's research has often been cited often in recent years for this reason: The behavioral changes in the men mirror the actions of present-day dieters, especially of anorexics.
Michelle Stacey (The Fasting Girl: A True Victorian Medical Mystery)
At the end of the day, it’s not about who the refugees are, or if they are refugees at all. We are not helping “the refugees”, we care only about the People behind the label because we are all human beings. We create those borders inside our heads and pretend that we care about where each of us comes from, allowing those borders to limit our way of thinking and living.
Ra'ad Ammari
When the Nazis overran France in the spring of 1940, much of its Jewish population tried to escape the country. In order to cross the border south, they needed visas to Spain and Portugal, and tens of thousands of Jews, along with many other refugees, besieged the Portuguese consulate in Bordeaux in a desperate attempt to get the life-saving piece of paper. The Portuguese government forbade its consuls in France to issue visas without prior approval from the Foreign Ministry, but the consul in Bordeaux, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, decided to disregard the order, throwing to the wind a thirty-year diplomatic career. As Nazi tanks were closing in on Bordeaux, Sousa Mendes and his team worked around the clock for ten days and nights, barely stopping to sleep, just issuing visas and stamping pieces of paper. Sousa Mendes issued thousands of visas before collapsing from exhaustion. The Portuguese government – which had little desire to accept any of these refugees – sent agents to escort the disobedient consul back home, and fired him from the foreign office. Yet officials who cared little for the plight of human beings nevertheless had deep respect for documents, and the visas Sousa Mendes issued against orders were respected by French, Spanish and Portuguese bureaucrats alike, spiriting up to 30,000 people out of the Nazi death trap. Sousa Mendes, armed with little more than a rubber stamp, was responsible for the largest rescue operation by a single individual during the Holocaust.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
I might have been just half an Asian, but in America it was all or nothing when it came to race. You were either white or you weren’t. Funnily enough, I had never felt inferior because of my race during my foreign student days. I was foreign by definition and therefore was treated as a guest. But now, even though I was a card-carrying American with a driver’s license, Social Security card, and resident alien permit, Violet still considered me as foreign, and this misrecognition punctured the smooth skin of my self-confidence. Was I just being paranoid, that all-American characteristic? Maybe Violet was stricken with colorblindness, the willful inability to distinguish between white and any other color, the only infirmity Americans wished for themselves.
Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer (The Sympathizer, #1))
Trust the holy instincts within you—the instincts of compassion aroused by the Holy Spirit. Yes, politics are always complicated, but what does Jesus want your attitude to be toward Syrian refugees, Honduran asylum seekers, and undocumented day laborers? You already know. You’ve always known. Some will say power trumps everything, but you’ve always known that mercy triumphs over judgment.
Brian Zahnd (Postcards from Babylon: The Church In American Exile)
I can barely muster up enough empathy to cover the humans I know. Every day we’re asked to feel sorry for refugees from Syria and gay men in Chechnya and Muslims in Myanmar. It’s too much. The human mind wasn’t built to assimilate so much suffering. It was designed to produce just enough empathy to cover its own little community. So please don’t ask me to expend my dwindling reserves on an owl.
Alexandra Andrews (Who Is Maud Dixon?)
Mrs. Appleyard, in contrast, was thin and sallow and when her husband was out of the apartment Ursula could hear her singing mournfully to herself in a language that she couldn’t place. Something Eastern European by the sound of it. How useful Mr. Carver’s Esperanto would be, she thought. (Only if everyone spoke it, of course.) And especially these days with so many refugees flooding into London.
Kate Atkinson (Life After Life)
I hope that the day never comes that I will need to flee my country in pursuit of safety or a better life. I pray that if I do, it’s not as a result of violence and that we don’t have to leave our lives behind us with nothing but a bag and any remaining family members by our side. If circumstances ever forced us to flee, I hope we are not called animals and treated as subhuman criminals simply because we want to live. Should it be so dire that we are forced to separate from our children with the hope they would find a better, safer life- if it were so very bad that I would rather they leave me, go on their own in a new country with nothing but faith and hope in their pocket, I hope the world will care for my priceless children and not discard them- simply let them fall through the cracks.
Elizabeth Tambascio
I took some groceries over to Ross and Lori and their kids. They no longer had any source of income, and they were living like refugees trapped in a town that treated them as if they had the plague. No work, no money, no food, so I would try to help when I could. My dad had taught me that when you help others, you are really helping yourself, and it gave my spirits a boost to see the family hang tough while the FLDS tried to crush them.
Sam Brower (Prophet's Prey: My Seven-Year Investigation into Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints)
ref·u·gee noun: a person who flees for refuge or safety We are, each of us, refugees when we flee from burning buildings into the arms of loving families. When we flee from floods and earthquakes to sleep on blue mats in community centres. We are, each of us, refugees when we flee from abusive relationships, and shooters in cinemas and shopping centres. Sometimes it takes only a day for our countries to persecute us because of our creed, race, or sexual orientation. Sometimes it takes only a minute for the missiles to rain down and leave our towns in ruin and destitution. We are, each of us, refugees longing for that amniotic tranquillity dreaming of freedom and safety when fences and barbed wires spring into walled gardens. Lebanese, Sudanese, Libyan and Syrian, Yemeni, Somali, Palestinian, and Ethiopian, like our brothers and sisters, we are, each of us, refugees. The bombs fell in their cafés and squares where once poetry, dancing, and laughter prevailed. Only their olive trees remember music and merriment now as their cities wail for departed children without a funeral. We are, each of us, refugees. Don’t let stamped paper tell you differently. We’ve been fleeing for centuries because to stay means getting bullets in our heads because to stay means being hanged by our necks because to stay means being jailed, raped and left for dead. But we can, each of us, serve as one another’s refuge so we don't board dinghies when we can’t swim so we don’t climb walls with snipers aimed at our chest so we don’t choose to remain and die instead. When home turns into hell, you, too, will run with tears in your eyes screaming rescue me! and then you’ll know for certain: you've always been a refugee.
Kamand Kojouri
The Arab world has done nothing to help the Palestinian refugees they created when they attacked Israel in 1948. It’s called the ‘Palestinian refugee problem.’ This is one of the best tricks that the Arabs have played on the world, and they have used it to their great advantage when fighting Israel in the forum of public opinion. This lie was pulled off masterfully, and everyone has been falling for it ever since. First you tell people to leave their homes and villages because you are going to come in and kick out the Jews the day after the UN grants Israel its nationhood. You fail in your military objective, the Jews are still alive and have more land now than before, and you have thousands of upset, displaced refugees living in your country because they believed in you. So you and the UN build refugee camps that are designed to last only five years and crowd the people in, instead of integrating them into your society and giving them citizenship. After a few years of overcrowding and deteriorating living conditions, you get the media to visit and publish a lot of pictures of these poor people living in the hopeless, wretched squalor you have left them in. In 1967 you get all your cronies together with their guns and tanks and planes and start beating the war drums. Again the same old story: you really are going to kill all the Jews this time or drive them into the sea, and everyone will be able to go back home, take over what the Jews have developed, and live in a Jew-free Middle East. Again you fail and now there are even more refugees living in your countries, and Israel is even larger, with Jerusalem as its capital. Time for more pictures of more camps and suffering children. What is to be done about these poor refugees (that not even the Arabs want)? Then start Middle Eastern student organizations on U.S. college campuses and find some young, idealistic American college kids who have no idea of what has been described here so far, and have them take up the cause. Now enter some power-hungry type like Yasser Arafat who begins to blackmail you and your Arab friends, who created the mess, for guns and bombs and money to fight the Israelis. Then Arafat creates hell for the world starting in the 1970s with his terrorism, and the “Palestinian refugee problem” becomes a worldwide issue and galvanizes all your citizens and the world against Israel. Along come the suicide bombers, so to keep the pot boiling you finance the show by paying every bomber’s family twenty-five thousand dollars. This encourages more crazies to go blow themselves up, killing civilians and children riding buses to school. Saudi Arabia held telethons to raise thousands of dollars to the families of suicide bombers. What a perfect way to turn years of military failure into a public-opinion-campaign success. The perpetuation of lies and uncritical thinking, combined with repetitious anti-Jewish and anti-American diatribes, has produced a generation of Arab youth incapable of thinking in a civilized manner. This government-nurtured rage toward the West and the infidels continues today, perpetuating their economic failure and deflecting frustration away from the dictators and regimes that oppress them. This refusal by the Arab regimes to take an honest look at themselves has created a culture of scapegoating that blames western civilization for misery and failure in every aspect of Arab life. So far it seems that Arab leaders don’t mind their people lagging behind, save for King Abdullah’s recent evidence of concern. (The depth of his sincerity remains to be seen.)
Brigitte Gabriel (Because They Hate)
Building a neighbourhood takes a very long time. It takes at least twenty years and then some. Like a garden, a neighbourhood must be tended regularly and by many people. There are seeds to be sown, little plants to water. And yes, every day there are weeds to be pulled, small problems to be solved before they overwhelm what is good. It is a humble task, and it is never over. There are days when you think the slightest storm could blow all this loveliness away.
Mary Jo Leddy (The Other Face of God: When the Stranger Calls Us Home)
Zet and Lottie swam into New York City from the skies—that was how it felt in the Pacemaker, rushing along the Hudson at sunrise. First many blue twigs overhanging the water, than a rosy color, and then the heavy flashing of the river under the morning sun. They were in the dining car, their eyes were heavy. They were drained by a night of broken sleep in the day coach, and they were dazzled. They drank coffee from cups as heavy as soapstone, and poured from New York Central pewter. They were in the East, where everything was better, where objects were different. Here there was deeper meaning in the air. After changing at Harmon to an electric locomotive, they began a more quick and eager ride. Trees, water, sky, and the sky raced off, floating, and there came bridges, structures, and at last the tunnel, where the air breaks gasped and the streamliner was checked. There were yellow bulbs in wire mesh, and subterranean air came through the vents. The doors opened, the passengers, pulling their clothing straight, flowed out and got their luggage, and Zet and Lottie, reaching Forty-second Street, refugees from arid and inhibited Chicago, from Emptyland, embraced at the curb and kissed each other repeatedly on the mouth. They had come to the World City, where all behavior was deeper and more resonant, where they could freely be themselves, as demonstrative as they liked. Intellect, art, the transcendent, needed no excuses here. Any cabdriver understood, Zet believed.
Saul Bellow (Him With His Foot in His Mouth and Other Stories)
She sat and watched the dockhand when it was sunny and she sat and watched him when it rained. Or when it was foggy, which is what it was nearly every morning at eight o’clock. This morning was none of the above. This morning was cold. The pier smelled of fresh water and of fish. The seagulls screeched overhead, a man’s voice shouted. Where is my brother to help me, my sister, my mother? Pasha, help me, hide in the woods where I know I can find you. Dasha, look what’s happened. Do you even see? Mama, Mama. I want my mother. Where is my family to ask things of me, to weigh on me, to intrude on me, to never let me be silent or alone, where are they to help me through this? Deda, what do I do? I don’t know what to do. This morning the dockhand did not go over to see his friend at the next pier for a smoke and a coffee. Instead, he walked across the road and sat next to her on the bench. This surprised her. But she said nothing, she just wrapped her white nurse’s coat tighter around herself, and fixed the kerchief covering her hair. In Swedish he said to her, “My name is Sven. What’s your name?” After a longish pause, she replied. “Tatiana. I don’t speak Swedish.” In English he said to her, “Do you want a cigarette?” “No,” she replied, also in English. She thought of telling him she spoke little English. She was sure he didn’t speak Russian. He asked her if he could get her a coffee, or something warm to throw over her shoulders. No and no. She did not look at him. Sven was silent a moment. “You want to get on my barge, don’t you?” he asked. “Come. I will take you.” He took her by her arm. Tatiana didn’t move. “I can see you have left something behind,” he said, pulling on her gently. “Go and retrieve it.” Tatiana did not move. “Take my cigarette, take my coffee, or get on my barge. I won’t even turn away. You don’t have to sneak past me. I would have let you on the first time you came. All you had to do was ask. You want to go to Helsinki? Fine. I know you’re not Finnish.” Sven paused. “But you are very pregnant. Two months ago it would have been easier for you. But you need to go back or go forward. How long do you plan to sit here and watch my back?” Tatiana stared into the Baltic Sea. “If I knew, would I be sitting here?” “Don’t sit here anymore. Come,” said the longshoreman. She shook her head. “Where is your husband? Where is the father of your baby?” “Dead in the Soviet Union,” Tatiana breathed out. “Ah, you’re from the Soviet Union.” He nodded. “You’ve escaped somehow? Well, you’re here, so stay. Stay in Sweden. Go to the consulate, get yourself refugee protection. We have hundreds of people getting through from Denmark. Go to the consulate.” Tatiana shook her head. “You’re going to have that baby soon,” Sven said. “Go back, or move forward.” Tatiana’s hands went around her belly. Her eyes glazed over. The dockhand patted her gently and stood up. “What will it be? You want to go back to the Soviet Union? Why?” Tatiana did not reply. How to tell him her soul had been left there? “If you go back, what happens to you?” “I die most likely,” she barely whispered. “If you go forward, what happens to you?” “I live most likely.” He clapped his hands. “What kind of a choice is that? You must go forward.” “Yes,” said Tatiana, “but how do I live like this? Look at me. You think, if I could, I wouldn’t?” “So you’re here in the Stockholm purgatory, watching me move my paper day in and day out, watching me smoke, watching me. What are you going to do? Sit with your baby on the bench? Is that what you want?” Tatiana was silent. The first time she laid eyes on him she was sitting on a bench, eating ice cream. “Go forward.” “I don’t have it in me.” He nodded. “You have it. It’s just covered up. For you it’s winter.” He smiled. “Don’t worry. Summer’s here. The ice will melt.” Tatiana struggled up from the bench. Walking away, she said in Russian, “It’s not the ice anymore, my seagoing philosopher. It’s the pyre.
Paullina Simons (Tatiana and Alexander (The Bronze Horseman, #2))
Thus when people object, as they do, to me and others pointing out that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer—by commenting that wealth is not finite, that statist and globalist solutions and handouts will merely strip the poor of their human dignity and vocation to work, and that all this will encourage the poor toward a sinful envy of the rich, a slothful escapism, and a counterproductive reliance on Caesar rather than God—I want to take such commentators to refugee camps, to villages where children die every day, to towns where most adults have already died of AIDS, and show them people who haven't got the energy to be envious, who aren't slothful because they are using all the energy they've got to wait in line for water and to care for each other, who know perfectly well that they don't need handouts so much as justice. I know, and such people often know in their bones, that wealth isn't a zero-sum game, but reading the collected works of F. A. Hayek in a comfortable chair in North America simply doesn't address the moral questions of the twenty-first century.
N.T. Wright (Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church)
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 your neck and even then you carried the anthem under your breath 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 under trains beneath carriages 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 pitied no one chooses refugee camps or strip searches where your body is left aching or prison, 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 the go home blacks refugees dirty immigrants asylum seekers sucking our country dry niggers with their hands out they smell strange savage 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 your legs or the insults are easier to swallow than rubble than bone than your child body in pieces. 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 drown save be hunger beg forget pride your survival is more important no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear saying- leave, run away from me now i dont know what i’ve become but i know that anywhere is safer than here
Warsan Shire
Too soon the two weeks were over and we were back in Lugano, and there we learned about Disaster. We weren’t completely ignorant. We knew about disaster from our previous schools and previous lives. We’d had access to televisions and newspapers. But the return to Lugano marked the beginning of Global Awareness Month, and in each of our classes, we talked about disaster: disaster man-made and natural. We talked about ozone depletion and the extinction of species and depleted rain forests and war and poverty and AIDS. We talked about refugees and slaughter and famine. We were in the middle school and were getting, according to Uncle Max, a diluted version of what the upper-schoolers were facing. An Iraqi boy from the upper school came to our history class and talked about what it felt like when the Americans bombed his country. Keisuke talked about how he felt responsible for World War II, and a German student said she felt the same. We got into heated discussions over the neglect of infant females in some cultures, and horrific cases of child abuse worldwide. We fasted one day each week to raise our consciousness about hunger, and we sent money and canned goods and clothing to charities. In one class, after we watched a movie about traumas in Rwanda, and a Rwandan student told us about seeing his mother killed, Mari threw up. We were all having nightmares. At home, Aunt Sandy pleaded with Uncle Max. “This is too much!” she said. “You can’t dump all the world’s problems on these kids in one lump!” And he agreed. He was bewildered by it all, but the program had been set up the previous year, and he was the new headmaster, reluctant to interfere. And though we were sick of it and about it, we were greedy for it. We felt privileged there in our protected world and we felt guilty, and this was our punishment.
Sharon Creech (Bloomability)
The retaliation came in all varieties. One variety came largely from the Soviet soldiers. When they entered East Prussia in January, their propaganda officers hung up huge banners: ‘Soldier, you are now entering the lair of the fascist beast!’ The village of Nemmersdorf (now Mayakovskoya) was taken by the 2nd Red Army Guard, a few days later German troops launched a counteroffensive and entered the town again. They found bodies everywhere: refugees crushed under tanks, children shot in their gardens, raped women nailed to barn doors. The cameras rolled, the images were shown all over Germany: this is what happens when the Russians come in.
Geert Mak (In Europe: Travels Through the Twentieth Century)
It didn't seem like we had to do with less at all. It felt like exactly the opposite. Having this women stay with use made us feel very well off. This is why my mum is a genius. She could've told us a million times that we were lucky to have what we had- three meals a day, clothes to wear, a roof over our heads - and we would never have believed her because we heard these cliches all the time and they didn't make us feel lucky. But allowing someone who had even less than we did to live with us made us feel incredibly fortunate, wealthy even. This woman was so appreciative and grateful, and always made us feel like we were benefactors sent from God to help her through. p130
Anh Do (The Happiest Refugee)
Watching television in our cells, we became glued to news of the Great March of Return in Gaza, a series of demonstrations that had begun while we were attending our classes. Beginning on March 30, 2018, which Palestinians commemorate as Land Day, the besieged people of Gaza had protested weekly along the fence separating them from Israel. They were demanding an end to Israel’s crippling air, land, and sea blockade, which had effectively trapped them for over a decade inside the world’s largest open-air prison. And they were demanding the right to return to their homes, which Zionist militias had forcibly removed them from to clear the way for Israel’s creation in 1948. Seventy percent of Gaza’s population are, in fact, refugees.
Ahed Tamimi (They Called Me a Lioness: A Palestinian Girl's Fight for Freedom)
His action of joining them, which would have been rude in a restaurant that was not moving at three hundred kilometers an hour, was perfectly acceptable on a train, which mimicked the entirely random joinings of life but revealed their true nature by making them last only hours or days, rather than years and decades. People on a train form an alliance, as if the world that surrounded the parallel rails were hostile and and they refugees from it. The dining car, humming and rocking gently in the night, annihilated past and future and made all associations outside of itself seem vaguely unreal. So they welcomed him at their table, for he was one of them, a traveler, not one of those wraiths through whose night-lit cities they passed.
Alexander Jablokov (Carve the Sky)
Three days after the earthquake in Louisiana there was another geological catastrophe announced, this time in China. The coast of the province of Kiangsu, north of Nanking, about half way between the mouth of the Yangtse and the old bed of the Hwangho, was ripped apart in a powerful, thunderous earthquake; the sea gushed into this fissure and joined up with the great lakes of Pan Yoon and Hungtsu between the cities of Hwaingan and Fugyang. Apparently as a result of the earthquake, the Yangtse left its course below Nanking and flowed down towards Lake Tai and on to Hang-Cho. Loss of human life cannot, so far, even be estimated. Hundred of thousands of refugees are fleeing into the provinces to the north and south. Japanese warships have been given orders to sail to the affected area.
Karel Čapek (War with the Newts)
And at this very moment, like a miracle, the rail-bus appeared. We waved our arms frantically, hardly daring to hope that it would stop. It did stop. We scrambled thankfully on board. That is the irony of travel. You spend your boyhood dreaming of a magic, impossibly distant day when you will cross the Equator, when your eyes will behold Quito. And then, in the slow prosaic process of life, that day undramatically dawns—and finds you sleepy, hungry and dull. The Equator is just another valley; you aren’t sure which and you don’t much care. Quito is just another railroad station, with fuss about baggage and taxis and tips. And the only comforting reality, amidst all this picturesque noisy strangeness, is to find a clean pension run by Czech refugees and sit down in a cozy Central European parlor to a lunch of well-cooked Wiener Schnitzel.
Christopher Isherwood (The Condor And The Cows: A South American Travel Diary)
Google searches, however, reveal that there was one line that did trigger the type of response then-president Obama might have wanted. He said, “Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes and, yes, they are our men and women in uniform, who are willing to die in defense of our country.” After this line, for the first time in more than a year, the top Googled noun after “Muslim” was not “terrorists,” “extremists,” or “refugees.” It was “athletes,” followed by “soldiers.” And, in fact, “athletes” kept the top spot for a full day afterward. When we lecture angry people, the search data implies that their fury can grow. But subtly provoking people’s curiosity, giving new information, and offering new images of the group that is stoking their rage may turn their thoughts in different, more positive directions.
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz (Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are)
Arnold had never given much thought to whether or not he loved America—but now it seemed pretty obvious to him that he didn’t. Not in the way Nathan Hale had loved America. Or even in the way his late father, a Dutch-Jewish refugee, had loved America. In fact, he found the idea of sacrificing his life for his country somewhat abhorrent. Moreover, it wasn’t that he disliked abstract loyalties in general. He loved New York, for instance: Senegalese takeout at three a.m., and strolling through the Botanical Gardens on the first crisp day of autumn, and feeding the peacocks at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. If Manhattan were invaded—if New Jersey were to send an expeditionary force of militiamen across the Hudson River—he’d willingly take up arms to defend his city. He also loved Sandpiper Key in Florida, where they owned a time-share, and maybe Brown University, where he’d spent five years of graduate school. But the United States? No one could mistake his qualified praise for love.
Jacob M. Appel (The Man Who Wouldn't Stand Up)
You know,” he says, “in Syria, we are always having coffee together. Almost every day I went to a friend’s house and we sat for two hours, for three hours, drinking coffee together, talking about things. Why do you not do that here? Everyone stays here, here, here.” He frowns and jabs at the air. “No one knows their neighbors. No one has coffee.” “You’re right,” I say. “You’re right.” “I tell this to Moradi,” he says, giving a reluctant smile. “I tell her I will start having coffee with people. Soon everyone will come to my house and we will all know each other and talk together. She says, ‘Mohammad, Americans do not want this! They do not want!’ But I tell her I will show her. I will start. We will meet here, there. Maybe at a coffeehouse. It is good this way, for us to drink coffee together.” He laughs. I laugh too, but the truth of what he says reaches me. We as Americans are very good at being independent. I struggle to think of the last time I needed someone, truly needed someone. We are so busy. Too busy. There is very little time for that kind of community, where we meet
Shawn Smucker (Once We Were Strangers: What Friendship with a Syrian Refugee Taught Me about Loving My Neighbor)
When she was safely in America, Sarah Liu and two other refugees from the South China Church all resettled in Midland. The Midland community helped provide support for their living expenses under ChinaAid. We invited them over to our home during the Christmas season. We watched as Sarah walked ever so slowly up to our Christmas tree and stared at the lights twinkling on and off, absolutely mesmerized. “Those are just decorations,” I explained. “They’re on a string.” I pulled out a package and handed them to her, so she could see what they looked like before being draped over the tree. She took the string of lights out of the package faster than I could blink, her hands untangling them like she was knitting a blanket. Within seconds, she had completely unwrapped and disassembled the lights. Then she looked up at me with the various parts in her hands. “I assembled these in my labor camp for sixteen hours a day,” she explained. “We made Christmas lights and put them in packages that look just like this one.” She then reassembled them just as quickly. The whole process took only seconds.
Bob Fu (God's Double Agent: The True Story of a Chinese Christian's Fight for Freedom)
Most languages have a word for the day before yesterday. Anteayer in Spanish. Vorgestern in German. There is no word for it in English. It’s a language that tries to keep the past simple and perfect, free of the subjunctive blurring of memory and mood. I take out a pen, tapping the end impatiently on a bar napkin as I try to think of a English word for “the day before yesterday.” I consider myself to be a political-linguistic refugee, come to Germany seeking asylum in a country where I don’t have to hear people say “nonplussed” when they mean “nonchalant” or have to listen to a military spokesperson euphemistically refer to a helicopter’s crashing into a mountainside as a “hard landing,” and I can’t begin to explain how liberating it is to live in a place where I can go through an autumn of Sundays without once having to hear someone say, “The only thing the prevent defense does is prevent you from winning.” Listening to America these days is like listening to the fallen King Lear using his royal gibberish to turn field mice and shadows into real enemies. America is always composing empty phrases like “keeping it real,” “intelligent design,” “hip-hop generation,” and “first responders” as a way to disguise the emptiness and the mundanity.
Paul Beatty (Slumberland)
The Prime Minister, who was in close contact with the Queen and Prince Charles, captured the feelings of loss and despair when he spoke to the nation earlier in the day from his Sedgefield constituency. Speaking without notes, his voice breaking with emotion, he described Diana as a ‘wonderful and warm human being.’ ‘She touched the lives of so many others in Britain and throughout the world with joy and with comfort. How difficult things were for her from time to time, I’m sure we can only guess at. But people everywhere, not just here in Britain, kept faith with Princess Diana. They liked her, they loved her, they regarded her as one of the people. She was the People’s Princess and that is how she will stay, how she will remain in all our hearts and memories for ever.’ While his was the first of many tributes which poured in from world figures, it perfectly captured the mood of the nation in a historic week which saw the British people, with sober intensity and angry dignity, place on trial the ancient regime, notably an elitist, exploitative and male-dominated mass media and an unresponsive monarchy. For a week Britain succumbed to flower power, the scent and sight of millions of bouquets a mute and telling testimony to the love people felt towards a woman who was scorned by the Establishment during her lifetime. So it was entirely appropriate when Buckingham Palace announced that her funeral would be ‘a unique service for a unique person’. The posies, the poems, the candles and the cards that were placed at Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace and elsewhere spoke volumes about the mood of the nation and the state of modern Britain. ‘The royal family never respected you, but the people did,’ said one message, as thousands of people, most of whom had never met her, made their way in quiet homage to Kensington Palace to express their grief, their sorrow, their guilt and their regret. Total strangers hugged and comforted each other, others waited patiently to lay their tributes, some prayed silently. When darkness fell, the gardens were bathed in an ethereal glow from the thousands of candles, becoming a place of dignified pilgrimage that Chaucer would have recognized. All were welcome and all came, a rainbow of coalition of young and old of every colour and nationality, East Enders and West Enders, refugees, the disabled, the lonely, the curious, and inevitably, droves of tourists. She was the one person in the land who could connect with those Britons who had been pushed to the edges of society as well as with those who governed it.
Andrew Morton (Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words)
The analogy that has helped me most is this: in Hurricane Katrina, hundreds of boat-owners rescued people—single moms, toddlers, grandfathers—stranded in attics, on roofs, in flooded housing projects, hospitals, and school buildings. None of them said, I can’t rescue everyone, therefore it’s futile; therefore my efforts are flawed and worthless, though that’s often what people say about more abstract issues in which, nevertheless, lives, places, cultures, species, rights are at stake. They went out there in fishing boats and rowboats and pirogues and all kinds of small craft, some driving from as far as Texas and eluding the authorities to get in, others refugees themselves working within the city. There was bumper-to-bumper boat-trailer traffic—the celebrated Cajun Navy—going toward the city the day after the levees broke. None of those people said, I can’t rescue them all. All of them said, I can rescue someone, and that’s work so meaningful and important I will risk my life and defy the authorities to do it. And they did. Of course, working for systemic change also matters—the kind of change that might prevent calamities by addressing the climate or the infrastructure or the environmental and economic injustice that put some people in harm’s way in New Orleans in the first place.
Rebecca Solnit (Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities)
You seem surprised to find us here,’ the man said. ‘I am,’ I said. ‘I wasn’t expecting to find anyone.’ ‘We are everywhere,’ the man said. ‘We are all over the country.’ ‘Forgive me,’ I said, ‘but I don’t understand. Who do you mean by we?’ ‘Jewish refugees.’ [...] ‘Is this your land?’ I asked him. ‘Not yet,’ he said. ‘You mean you are hoping to buy it?’ He looked at me in silence for a while. Then he said, ‘The land is at present owned by a Palestinian farmer but he has given us permission to live here. He has also allowed us some fields so that we can grow our own food.’ ‘So where do you go from here?’ I asked him. ‘You and all your orphans?’ ‘We don’t go anywhere,’ he said, smiling through his black beard. ‘We stay here.’ ‘Then you will all become Palestinians,’ I said. ‘Or perhaps you are that already.’ He smiled again, presumably at the naïvety of my questions. ‘No,’ the man said, ‘I do not think we will become Palestinians.’ ‘Then what will you do?’ ‘You are a young man who is flying aeroplanes,’ he said, ‘and I do not expect you to understand our problems.’ ‘What problems?’ I asked him. The young woman put two mugs of coffee on the table as well as a tin of condensed milk that had two holes punctured in the top. The man dripped some milk from the tin into my mug and stirred it for me with the only spoon. He did the same for his own coffee and then took a sip. ‘You have a country to live in and it is called England,’ he said. ‘Therefore you have no problems.’ ‘No problems!’ I cried. ‘England is fighting for her life all by herself against virtually the whole of Europe! We’re even fighting the Vichy French and that’s why we’re in Palestine right now! Oh, we’ve got problems all right!’ I was getting rather worked up. I resented the fact that this man sitting in his fig grove said that I had no problems when I was getting shot at every day. ‘I’ve got problems myself’, I said, ‘in just trying to stay alive.’ ‘That is a very small problem,’ the man said. ‘Ours is much bigger.’ I was flabbergasted by what he was saying. He didn’t seem to care one bit about the war we were fighting. He appeared to be totally absorbed in something he called ‘his problem’ and I couldn’t for the life of me make it out. ‘Don’t you care whether we beat Hitler or not?’ I asked him. ‘Of course I care. It is essential that Hitler be defeated. But that is only a matter of months and years. Historically, it will be a very short battle. Also it happens to be England’s battle. It is not mine. My battle is one that has been going on since the time of Christ.’ ‘I am not with you at all,’ I said. I was beginning to wonder whether he was some sort of a nut. He seemed to have a war of his own going on which was quite different to ours. I still have a very clear picture of the inside of that hut and of the bearded man with the bright fiery eyes who kept talking to me in riddles. ‘We need a homeland,’ the man was saying. ‘We need a country of our own. Even the Zulus have Zululand. But we have nothing.’ ‘You mean the Jews have no country?’ ‘That’s exactly what I mean,’ he said. ‘It’s time we had one.’ ‘But how in the world are you going to get yourselves a country?’ I asked him. ‘They are all occupied. Norway belongs to the Norwegians and Nicaragua belongs to the Nicaraguans. It’s the same all over.’ ‘We shall see,’ the man said, sipping his coffee. The dark-haired woman was washing up some plates in a basin of water on another small table and she had her back to us. ‘You could have Germany,’ I said brightly. ‘When we have beaten Hitler then perhaps England would give you Germany.’ ‘We don’t want Germany,’ the man said. ‘Then which country did you have in mind?’ I asked him, displaying more ignorance than ever. ‘If you want something badly enough,’ he said, ‘and if you need something badly enough, you can always get it.’ [...]‘You have a lot to learn,’ he said. ‘But you are a good boy. You are fighting for freedom. So am I.
Roald Dahl (Going Solo (Roald Dahl's Autobiography, #2))
refuge imagine how it feels to be chased out of home. to have your grip ripped. loosened from your fingertips, something you so dearly held on to. like a lover’s hand that slips when pulled away you are always reaching. my father would speak of home. reaching. speaking of familiar faces. girl next door who would eventually grow up to be my mother. the fruit seller at the market. the lonely man at the top of the road who nobody spoke to. and our house at the bottom of the street lit up by a single flickering lamp where beyond was only darkness. there they would sit and tell stories of monsters that lurked and came only at night to catch the children who sat and listened to stories of monsters that lurked. this is how they lived. each memory buried. an artefact left to be discovered by archaeologists. the last words on a dying family member’s lips. this was sacred. not even monsters could taint it. but there were monsters that came during the day. monsters that tore families apart with their giant hands. and fingers that slept on triggers. the sound of gunshots ripping through the sky became familiar like the tapping of rain fall on a window sill. monsters that would kill and hide behind speeches, suits and ties. monsters that would chase families away forcing them to leave everything behind. i remember when we first stepped off the plane. everything was foreign. unfamiliar. uninviting. even the air in my lungs left me short of breath. we came here to find refuge. they called us refugees so, we hid ourselves in their language until we sounded just like them. changed the way we dressed to look just like them. made this our home until we lived just like them and began to speak of familiar faces. girl next door who would grow up to be a mother. the fruit seller at the market. the lonely man at the top of the road who nobody spoke to. and our house at the bottom of the street lit up by a flickering lamp to keep away the darkness. there we would sit and watch police that lurked and came only at night to arrest the youths who sat and watched police that lurked and came only at night. this is how we lived. i remember one day i heard them say to me they come here to take our jobs they need to go back to where they came from not knowing that i was one of the ones who came. i told them that a refugee is simply someone who is trying to make a home. so next time when you go home tuck your children in and kiss your families goodnight, be glad that the monsters never came for you. in their suits and ties. never came for you. in the newspapers with the media lies. never came for you. that you are not despised. and know that deep inside the hearts of each and every one of us we are all always reaching for a place that we can call home.
J.J. Bola (REFUGE: The Collected Poetry of JJ Bola)
I do not know the substance of the considerations and recommendations which Dr. Szilárd proposes to submit to you,” Einstein wrote. “The terms of secrecy under which Dr. Szilárd is working at present do not permit him to give me information about his work; however, I understand that he now is greatly concerned about the lack of adequate contact between scientists who are doing this work and those members of your Cabinet who are responsible for formulating policy.”34 Roosevelt never read the letter. It was found in his office after he died on April 12 and was passed on to Harry Truman, who in turn gave it to his designated secretary of state, James Byrnes. The result was a meeting between Szilárd and Byrnes in South Carolina, but Byrnes was neither moved nor impressed. The atom bomb was dropped, with little high-level debate, on August 6, 1945, on the city of Hiroshima. Einstein was at the cottage he rented that summer on Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks, taking an afternoon nap. Helen Dukas informed him when he came down for tea. “Oh, my God,” is all he said.35 Three days later, the bomb was used again, this time on Nagasaki. The following day, officials in Washington released a long history, compiled by Princeton physics professor Henry DeWolf Smyth, of the secret endeavor to build the weapon. The Smyth report, much to Einstein’s lasting discomfort, assigned great historic weight for the launch of the project to the 1939 letter he had written to Roosevelt. Between the influence imputed to that letter and the underlying relationship between energy and mass that he had formulated forty years earlier, Einstein became associated in the popular imagination with the making of the atom bomb, even though his involvement was marginal. Time put him on its cover, with a portrait showing a mushroom cloud erupting behind him with E=mc2 emblazoned on it. In a story that was overseen by an editor named Whittaker Chambers, the magazine noted with its typical prose flair from the period: Through the incomparable blast and flame that will follow, there will be dimly discernible, to those who are interested in cause & effect in history, the features of a shy, almost saintly, childlike little man with the soft brown eyes, the drooping facial lines of a world-weary hound, and hair like an aurora borealis… Albert Einstein did not work directly on the atom bomb. But Einstein was the father of the bomb in two important ways: 1) it was his initiative which started U.S. bomb research; 2) it was his equation (E = mc2) which made the atomic bomb theoretically possible.36 It was a perception that plagued him. When Newsweek did a cover on him, with the headline “The Man Who Started It All,” Einstein offered a memorable lament. “Had I known that the Germans would not succeed in producing an atomic bomb,” he said, “I never would have lifted a finger.”37 Of course, neither he nor Szilárd nor any of their friends involved with the bomb-building effort, many of them refugees from Hitler’s horrors, could know that the brilliant scientists they had left behind in Berlin, such as Heisenberg, would fail to unlock the secrets. “Perhaps I can be forgiven,” Einstein said a few months before his death in a conversation with Linus Pauling, “because we all felt that there was a high probability that the Germans were working on this problem and they might succeed and use the atomic bomb and become the master race.”38
Walter Isaacson (Einstein: His Life and Universe)
In Kafka’s works the family table locks the child into a site where Father presides; it offers one of the prime occasions for paternity to enthrone itself, conducting prescriptive raids on the child’s bearing—invading his plate, entering and altering his body, adjusting his manner of being. The table becomes the metonymy for all law, the place where sovereign exceptionalism asserts itself: Father does not have to obey his own law, he can pick his teeth or clean his ears while the eaters submit to the severity of his rule. The children, in Kafka at least, and in the simulacrum of home in which many others were grown, are consistently downgraded to the status of unshakable refugees, parasites, those who quiver under the thickness of anxiety while laws, like platters, are passed and forced down one’s delicate throat. Give us this day our daily dread: it is difficult to imagine the Kafka family going out to eat, though that is what it would have taken for the death grip of mealtime to loosen, let go. At home, at the table, little Franz Kafka was eaten alive. By the time of the famous “Letter to Father,” he was vaporized. He says so himself: A good deal of the damage done to the young psyche occurred at table. The neighborhood restaurant might have rerouted the oppressive domesticity of home rule—it might have introduced a hiatus or suspensive regime change that would allow for hunger’s pacing. Part of a spectacle of public generality, the theater of ingestion—possibly also of incorporation—the restaurant causes the hold on the child to slacken, if only because there are witnesses and waiters whose work consists in diminishing the intensities of paternal law and the sacrificial rites that underlie their daily distribution—the daily apportionment of dread.
Avital Ronell (Loser Sons: Politics and Authority)
Lieutenant Smith was asked by Mister Zumwald to get him a drink,” Wilkes said. “She responded with physical violence. I counseled her on conduct unbecoming of an officer and, when she reacted with foul language, on disrespect to a superior officer, sir, and I’ll stand by that position. Sir.” “I agree that her actions were unbecoming, Captain,” Steve said, mildly. “She really should have resolved it with less force. Which I told her as well as a strong lecture on respect to a superior officer. On the other hand, Captain, Mister Zumwald physically accosted her, grabbing her arm and, when she protested, called her a bitch. Were you aware of that, Captain?” “She did say something about it, sir,” Wilkes said. “However… ” “I also understand that you spent some time with Mister Zumwald afterwards,” Steve said. “Rather late. Did you at any time express to Mister Zumwald that accosting any woman, much less an officer of… what was it? ‘The United States Naval services’ was unacceptable behavior, Captain?” “Sir,” Wilkes said. “Mister Zumwald is a major Hollywood executive… ” “Was,” Steve said. “Excuse me, sir?” Wilkes said. “Was a major Hollywood executive,” Steve said. “Right now, Ernest Zumwald, Captain, is a fucking refugee off a fucking lifeboat. Period fucking dot. He’s given a few days grace, like most refugees, to get his headspace and timing back, then he can decide if he wants to help out or go in with the sick, lame and lazy. And in this case he’s a fucking refugee who thinks it’s acceptable to accost some unknown chick and tell him to get him a fucking drink. Grab her by the arm and, when she tells him to let go, become verbally abusive. “What makes the situation worse, Captain, is that the person he accosted was not just any passing young hotty but a Marine officer. He did not know that at the time; the Marine officer was dressed much like other women in the compartment. However, he does not have the right to grab any woman in my care by the fucking arm and order them to get him a fucking drink, Captain! Then, to make matters worse, following the incident, Captain, you spent the entire fucking evening getting drunk with a fucktard who had physically and verbally assaulted a female Marine officer! You dumbshit.” “Sir, I… ” Wilkes said, paling. “And not just any Marine officer, oh, no,” Steve said. “Forget that it was the daughter of the Acting LANTFLEET. Forget that it was the daughter of your fucking rating officer, you retard. I’m professional enough to overlook that. I really am. There’s personal and professional, and I do actually know the line. Except that it was, professionally, a disgraceful action on your part, Captain. But not just any Marine officer, Captain. No, this was a Marine officer that, unlike you, is fucking worshipped by your Marines, Captain. This is a Marine officer that the acting Commandant thinks only uses boats so her boots don’t get wet walking from ship to ship. This is a Marine officer who is the only fucking light in the darkness to the entire Squadron, you dumbfuck! “I’d already gotten the scuttlebutt that you were a palace prince pogue who was a cowardly disgrace to the Marine uniform, Captain. I was willing to let that slide because maybe you could run the fucking clearance from the fucking door. But you just pissed off every fucking Marine we’ve got, you idiot. You incredible dumbfuck, moron! “In case you hadn’t noticed, you are getting cold-shouldered by everyone you work with while you were brown-nosing some fucking useless POS who used to ‘be somebody.’ ‘Your’ Marines are spitting on your shadow and that includes your fucking Gunnery Sergeant! Captain, am I getting through to you? Are you even vaguely recognizing how badly you fucked up? Professionally, politically, personally?
John Ringo (To Sail a Darkling Sea (Black Tide Rising, #2))
The wars break out and die down, but then there’s a flareup elsewhere. Houses cracked open like eggs, their contents torched or stolen or stomped vindictively underfoot; refugees strafed from airplanes. In a million cellars the bewildered royal family faces the firing squad; the gems sewn into their corsets will not save them. Herod’s troops patrol a thousand streets; just next door, Napoleon makes off with the silverware. In the wake of the invasion, any invasion, the ditches fill up with raped women. To be fair, raped men as well. Raped children, raped dogs and cats. Things can get out of control. But not here; not in this gentle, tedious backwater; not in Port Ticonderoga, despite a druggie or two in the parks, despite the occasional break-in, despite the occasional body found floating around in the eddies. We hunker down here, drinking our bedtime drinks, nibbling our bedtime snacks, peering at the world as if through a secret window, and when we’ve had enough of it we turn it off. So much for the twentieth century, we say, as we make our way upstairs. But there’s a far-off roaring, like a tidal wave racing inshore. Here comes the twentyfirst century, sweeping overhead like a spaceship filled with ruthless lizard-eyed aliens or a metal pterodactyl. Sooner or later it will sniff us out, it will tear the roofs off our flimsy little burrows with its iron claws, and then we will be just as naked and shivering and starving and diseased and hopeless as the rest. Excuse this digression. At my age you indulge in these apocalyptic visions. You say, The end of the world is at hand. You lie to yourself – I’m glad I won’t be around to see it – when in fact you’d like nothing better, as long as you can watch it through the little secret window, as long as you won’t be involved. But why bother about the end of the world? It’s the end of the world every day, for someone. Time rises and rises, and when it reaches the level of your eyes you drown. What happened next? For a moment I’ve lost the thread, it’s hard for me to remember, but then I do. It was the war, of course. We weren’t prepared for it, but at the same time we knew we’d been there before. It was the same chill, the chill that rolled in like a fog, the chill into which I was born.
Margaret Atwood (The Blind Assassin)
In the spring of 1940, when the Nazis overran France from the north, much of its Jewish population tried to escape the country towards the south. In order to cross the border, they needed visas to Spain and Portugal, and together with a flood of other refugees, tens of thousands of Jews besieged the Portuguese consulate in Bordeaux in a desperate attempt to get that life-saving piece of paper. The Portuguese government forbade its consuls in France to issue visas without prior approval from the Foreign Ministry, but the consul in Bordeaux, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, decided to disregard the order, throwing to the wind a thirty-year diplomatic career. As Nazi tanks were closing in on Bordeaux, Sousa Mendes and his team worked around the clock for ten days and nights, barely stopping to sleep, just issuing visas and stamping pieces of paper. Sousa Mendes issued thousands of visas before collapsing from exhaustion. 22. Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the angel with the rubber stamp. 22.​Courtesy of the Sousa Mendes Foundation. The Portuguese government – which had little desire to accept any of these refugees – sent agents to escort the disobedient consul back home, and fired him from the foreign office. Yet officials who cared little for the plight of human beings nevertheless had a deep reverence for documents, and the visas Sousa Mendes issued against orders were respected by French, Spanish and Portuguese bureaucrats alike, spiriting up to 30,000 people out of the Nazi death trap. Sousa Mendes, armed with little more than a rubber stamp, was responsible for the largest rescue operation by a single individual during the Holocaust.2 The sanctity of written records often had far less positive effects. From 1958 to 1961 communist China undertook the Great Leap Forward, when Mao Zedong wished to rapidly turn China into a superpower. Intending to use surplus grain to finance ambitious industrial projects, Mao ordered the doubling and tripling of agricultural production. From the government offices in Beijing his impossible demands made their way down the bureaucratic ladder, through provincial administrators, all the way down to the village headmen. The local officials, afraid of voicing any criticism and wishing to curry favour with their superiors, concocted imaginary reports of dramatic increases in agricultural output. As the fabricated numbers made their way back up the bureaucratic hierarchy, each official exaggerated them further, adding a zero here or there with a stroke of a pen. 23.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
Far more damaging to Calvin’s reputation was the case of Michael Servetus. An accomplished physician, skilled cartographer, and eclectic theologian from Spain, Servetus held maverick (and sometimes unbalanced) views on many points of Christian doctrine. In 1531, he published Seven Books on the Errors of the Trinity, enraging both Catholics and Protestants, Calvin among them. At one point, Servetus took up residence in Vienne, a suburb of Lyon about ninety miles from Geneva, where, under an assumed name, he began turning out heterodox books while also practicing medicine. His magnum opus, The Restitution of Christianity—a rebuttal of Calvin’s Institutes—rejected predestination, denied original sin, called infant baptism diabolical, and further deprecated the Trinity. Servetus imprudently sent Calvin a copy. Calvin sent back a copy of his Institutes. Servetus filled its margins with insulting comments, then returned it. A bitter exchange of letters followed, in which Servetus announced that the Archangel Michael was girding himself for Armageddon and that he, Servetus, would serve as his armor-bearer. Calvin sent Servetus’s letters to a contact in Vienne, who passed them on to Catholic inquisitors in Lyon. Servetus was promptly arrested and sent to prison, but after a few days he escaped by jumping over a prison wall. After spending three months wandering around France, he decided to seek refuge in Naples. En route, he inexplicably stopped in Geneva. Arriving on a Saturday, he attended Calvin’s lecture the next day. Though disguised, Servetus was recognized by some refugees from Lyon and immediately arrested. Calvin instructed one of his disciples to file capital charges against him with the magistrates for his various blasphemies. After a lengthy trial and multiple examinations, Servetus was condemned for writing against the Trinity and infant baptism and sentenced to death. He asked to be beheaded rather than burned, but the council refused, and on October 27, 1553, Servetus, with a copy of the Restitution tied to his arm, was sent to the stake. Shrieking in agony, he took half an hour to die. Calvin approved. “God makes clear that the false prophet is to be stoned without mercy,” he explained in Defense of the Orthodox Trinity Against the Errors of Michael Servetus. “We are to crush beneath our heel all affections of nature when his honor is involved. The father should not spare the child, nor the brother his brother, nor the husband his own wife or the friend who is dearer to him than life.
Michael Massing (Fatal Discord: Erasmus, Luther, and the Fight for the Western Mind)