Friday, July 07, 2006

Becoming a Refugee

I was supposed to publish the following poem on World Refugee Day. Still, it's a very powerful poem no matter what day of the year it's read. The poem was published last month in St. Anthony Messenger. 14-year-old Deng Duot, a Sudanese refugee, presented this poem during the 2004 World Refugee Day commemorations in Ethiopia:


The actual moment,
Of Exile,
Is like an illness.
You are ill,
With rage.

To each family,
It means closing the door,
On friends, culture, your native country.

One year is an exile,
Compared to ten years.

Ten years,
Means nothing,
In the history of the country.

But for a human being,
Is a long time.
For a child,
A life time.
Some of us,
We're born in Ethiopian camps.

Peace is 'round the corner,
What I call home,
Will still be,
Another exile.
Because,
I don't know home.

What an irony,
To become a refugee.

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