Beyond Trafficking and Slavery

Reflections on World Refugee Day

For one refugee, World Refugee Day is a stark reminder of the world's collective failure.

Ahmad Almouhmad
10 July 2018

Chios island, Greece. Photo: Mustafa Jado. All rights reserved.

‘World refugee day’ or, rather, ‘world’s biggest failure day’?

A political failure of things much bigger, be it wars, borders, inequalities, feudalism or capitalism, a consequence of world leaders’ collective decisions. Maybe it doesn’t even matter? At least refugees have a day to celebrate with the world.

Can the world commemorate its own failure?

The failure is so large, maybe that’s why politicians turned their back. What does this day mean for refugees? It means someone decided they’d be refugees, someone made decisions about their life, their past, their future, and their present. Their existence is now the consequence of political decisions and that’s not refugees’ fault at all.

Maybe soon the world will erase this day because it no longer fits.

How do refugees feel about this day? Will they work on creating a new world where they fit, one unlike the present world that denies them, separates them from the rest, calls them refugees? Aren’t we refugees also humans on this planet?

How can we think of refugees as humans when society simply designs our identity in line with a fixed idea of the world?

Refugees are victims of the present.

Be thankful, refugees, that you have a day to celebrate. At least the humans of the world remember you once a year. After all, every other day is for banishing you, stealing your identity, your rights as a human being. What kind of being are you, anyway, refugees? Humans? Animals?

Be thankful, refugees, that you have a day to celebrate. After all, every other day is for banishing you.

No. Don’t mind when other humans deny your existence. You are above labels. You exist.

Let them call you whatever they want. Appreciate it, appreciate being a failure of the world. Take this failure as an opportunity to question who you are. Keep asking yourself why the world doesn’t accept you. There you will find the answer, there you will transcend the world as it is now.


Chios island, Greece. Photo: Mustafa Jado. All rights reserved.

Tell the world your stories. Tell the world that you lost everything, that you thought you knew who you were but that it wasn’t until after your loss that you truly discovered. I know it’s painful to tell others that you lost your home, your country, your family. But also tell them that you have found yourselves. Maybe that home, that country wasn’t you. Maybe, home, country and the world can be found within yourself. Tell others that through loss you found yourself.

Share your experience of being a failure of wars, borders, inequalities, and hopefully society will accept the possibility of change, for change is the only certainty in the present world.

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