REFUGEES? NO. by Kamal Abu-Deeb

Kamal Abu-Deeb wrote this piece in Arabic few days ago; this is a rough translation of it in the hope that if you are in sympathy with his feelings you may be willing to make this piece available to as many people as you can.





Do not smear them with the word.
For they are Syrians.
And seeking refuge is not worthy of Syrians.
Throughout their history they have never sought refuge, but have always given refuge.They were, and still are, amongst the most proud, dignified and generous peoples on Earth: 
Virtues they have inherited from ancient, deeply steeped roots in history that initiated the history of civilization
In a land that is the flowerbed in which civilized being burgeoned and bloomed,
And in Damascus: the city that began in the labyrinths of the beginning
And shines still, being the only continuously inhabited city in the world
In which the glow and creativity of wo/man have never been extinguished throughout TIME.

They are the ones fleeing death.
The ones who survived the blades of the guillotine
Fleeing with their children and pride and women from the brutalities of being skinned after being slaughtered
And being scattered as dismembered limbs crashing into each other in the screaming of bombs.

"Here is a mother who left behind one wounded child in order to save two other children,And young girls who had been shattered by the terror of rape as much as by the terror of torture, neck chopping and deathAll piercing the wilderness with the strength of a blade of a sword.

And amongst the crowding, crashing shoulders, heads and backpacks here is “Nadia”, at 16, disabled, pushing, with her slender hands, her wheelchair over dismembered limbs, destruction of ruins, stones and pools of mud, from Idlib to Zagreb. 
And over her lips flutters a smile of the joy of adventure .
Because she had been in a boat and train for the first time in her life,
Beating now at the gates of Austria, in total certainty and faith that she will reach an oasis of safety, shouting:“

"Who submits to catastrophes perishes.”
And we shall not perish.”

Do not pour fire into the wounds and call them “ Refugees.”
They have outrun death and crossed in their great despair and the wonder of their mythical patience and endurance, seas and deserts, and trotted through the wilderness, going astray, in order to salvage the life that they witnessed being slaughtered and skinned and roasted and gobbled in Syria.

And they have endured for four years the volcanoes of death before they goning, chasing the horizons and the tracing every line in the map of Europe which cared not a bit for their tragedies until their faces, in their thousands, covered with sun and soil, loomed on its borders and thus became a burden on its affluent life and dying conscious.

Oh, yes,
They are the ones fleeing death.

For their sake, let us turn Facebook, and every other place we can, into a platform for an international campaign, demanding that the countries which close the doors of escape from death in their face realize that by doing so they are closing the doors in the face of the spirit of humanity and sympathy in human beings and stabbing the spirit of charity, love and noble values of the Christianity to which they claim to belong, and claim to have built their civilization on its pillars and moral values.

Let us tell these countries too that by doing so they stab this noble spirit in the very souls of their own citizens, and let us demand of them that they remember that most of them once lived through the horrors of war and were overrun by armies and experienced the dispossession of their citizens who then sought refuge in other countries searching for security and an honourable way of earning their daily bread.

And let us remind some of these countries that they are a prime cause for the destruction that has befallen Syria and the dispossession of its people and for turning them into waves of wanderers fleeing death, because these countries rushed, for no sin that Syria had committed against any of them, to inflame the fires of conflict by supporting one or another of the various sides, immediately that the ember of conflict glowed and when it was still possible to extinguish it.

And let us ask and urge the ordinary, good people in every country as well as the intellectuals, writers, artists and all creative people, and every one else, men and women, young and old, to open their hearts and homes and countries (as the good people have done in places like Italy, Greece, Sweden, Germany and others) for those who are carrying their bleeding wounds as well as the bleeding of their dignity and sense of pride, going astray in the deserts of humanity in search of a place, any place, in which the dragons of criminality and death do not shake their huge wings over them day and night.


They are those who defeated death and the brutalities of the slaughterers, those who are searching for the spirit of nobility in wo/man in a world that claims to have a civilization and to sanctify the life of wo/man and the dignity of wo/ man and the right of wo/man to lead an honorable, decent and secure life.

And that is precisely how Syrians have lived their lives wherever they have migrated over the years: In an honorable, decent and secure way. There is not a single country in the world to which some Syrians have gone to settle in which they acted in evil ways or acquired a bad reputation. On the contrary, everywhere they have gone they have made a good contribution to the building up, advancement and peaceful living: from the laborer with his hands to the scientist or scholar with his brain, and from the politician who became a president of his new homeland, to the business man who became wealthy and out of the wealth he made with his hard work he gave generously to the environment in which he lived.


They are those 
who will once more defeat death.

KAMAL ABU-DEEB, OXFORD, 26 September 2015

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