Refugees Quotes

Quotes tagged as "refugees" Showing 1-30 of 229
Warsan Shire
“No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.”
Warsan Shire, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth

Mohsin Hamid
“We are all refugees from our childhoods. And so we turn, among other things, to stories. To write a story, to read a story, is to be a refugee from the state of refugees. Writers and readers seek a solution to the problem that time passes, that those who have gone are gone and those who will go, which is to say every one of us, will go. For there was a moment when anything was possible. And there will be a moment when nothing is possible. But in between we can create.”
Mohsin Hamid, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia

Carlos Fuentes
“Recognize yourself in he and she who are not like you and me.”
Carlos Fuentes

Warsan Shire
“I know a few things to be true. I do not know where I am going, where I have come from is disappearing, I am unwelcome and my beauty is not beauty here. My body is burning with the shame of not belonging, my body is longing. I am the sin of memory and the absence of memory. I watch the news and my mouth becomes a sink full of blood. The lines, the forms, the people at the desks, the calling cards, the immigration officers, the looks on the street, the cold settling deep into my bones, the English classes at night, the distance I am from home. But Alhamdulilah all of this is better than the scent of a woman completely on fire, or a truckload of men, who look like my father pulling out my teeth and nails, or fourteen men between my legs, or a gun, or a promise, or a lie, or his name, or his manhood in my mouth.”
Warsan Shire, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth

Eric Hoffer
“The Jews are a peculiar people: Things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews.

Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people, and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it. Poland and Czechoslovakia did it. Turkey threw out a million Greeks and Algeria a million Frenchmen. Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese--and no one says a word about refugees.

But in the case of Israel, the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single Arab. Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis. Other nations when victorious on the battlefield dictate peace terms. But when Israel is victorious it must sue for peace.

Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world.”
Eric Hoffer

Warsan Shire
“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

Christopher Hitchens
“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

Edwidge Danticat
“It's not easy to start over in a new place,' he said. 'Exile is not for everyone. Someone has to stay behind, to receive the letters and greet family members when they come back.”
Edwidge Danticat, Brother, I'm Dying

“When Europeans arrived on this continent, they blew it with the Native Americans. They plowed over them, taking as much as they could of their land and valuables, and respecting almost nothing about the native cultures. They lost the wisdom of the indigenous peoples-wisdom about the land and connectedness to the great web of life…We have another chance with all these refugees. People come here penniless but not cultureless. They bring us gifts. We can synthesize the best of our traditions with the best of theirs. We can teach and learn from each other to produce a better America…”
Mary Pipher

Warsan Shire
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

“God created every man to be free. The ability to choose whether to live free or enslaved, right or wrong, happy or in fear is something called freewill. Every man was born with freewill. Some people use it, and some people use any excuse not to. Nobody can turn you into a slave unless you allow them. Nobody can make you afraid of anything, unless you allow them. Nobody can tell you to do something wrong, unless you allow them. God never created you to be a slave, man did. God never created division or set up any borders between brothers, man did. God never told you hurt or kill another, man did. And in the end, when God asks you: "Who told you to kill one of my children?"

And you tell him, "My leader."

He will then ask you, "And are THEY your GOD?”
Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

Mohsin Hamid
“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

Clemantine Wamariya
“It's strange, how you go from being a person who is away from home to a person with no home at all. The place that is supposed to want you has pushed you out. No other place takes you in. You are unwanted, by everyone. You are a refugee.”
Clemantine Wamariya, The Girl Who Smiled Beads

Khaled Hosseini
“I said to you,
"Hold my hand.
Nothing bad will happen."

These are only words.
A father's tricks,
It slays your father,
your faith in him.
Because all I can think tonight is
how deep the sea,
and how vast, how indifferent.
How powerless I am to protect you from it.

All I can do is pray.”
Khaled Hosseini, Sea Prayer

“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

“Through love, tribes have been intermixing colors to reveal a new rainbow world. And as more time passes, this racial and cultural blending will make it harder for humans to side with one race, nation or religion over another.”
Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

Viet Thanh Nguyen
“What am I dying for? he cried back. I'm dying because this world I'm living in isn't worth dying for! If something is worth dying for, then you've got a reason to live.”
Viet Thanh Nguyen

Khaled Hosseini
“I have heard it said we are the uninvited.
We are the unwelcome.
We should take our misfortune elsewhere.
But I hear your mother's voice,
over the tide.
and she whispers in my ear,
"Oh, but if they saw, my darling.
Even half of what you have.
If only they saw.
They would say kinder things, surely.”
Khaled Hosseini, Sea Prayer

“Taking Mum's hand, I whispered "Are we really safe, here?”
Alwyn Evans, Walk in My Shoes

James S.A. Corey
“The messages coming back flooded the comm buffers with rage and sorrow, threats of vengeance and offers of aid. Those last were the hardest. New colonies still trying to force their way into local ecosystems so exotic that their bodies could hardly recognize them as life at all, isolated, exhausted, sometimes at the edge of their resources. And what they wanted was to send back help. He listened to their voices, saw the distress in their eyes. He couldn't help, but love them a little bit.

Under the best conditions, disasters and plagues did that. It wasn't universally true. There would always be hoarders and price gouging, people who closed their doors to refugees and left them freezing and starving. But the impulse to help was there too. To carry a burden together, even if it meant having less for yourself. Humanity had come as far as it had in a haze of war, sickness, violence, and genocide. History was drenched in blood. But it also had cooperation and kindness, generosity, intermarriage. The one didn’t come without the other.”
James S.A. Corey, Babylon's Ashes

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
“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

Diana Abu-Jaber
“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

Thomas Merton
“Please do not look only at the dark side

All the newspapers in the free world explain why you return their readers understand how you feel

You have the sympathy of millions

As a tribute to your sorrow we resolve to spend more money on nuclear weapons there is always a bright side

If this were only a movie a boat would be available have you ever seen our movies they end happily

You would lean at the rail with 'him' the sun would set on China kiss and fade

You would marry one of the kind authorities

In our movies there is no law higher than love in real life duty is higher

You would not want the authorities to neglect duty

How do you like the image of the free world sorry you cannot stay

This is the first and last time we will see you in our papers

When you are back home remember us we will be having a good time.”
Thomas Merton, Selected Poems of Thomas Merton

Remi Kanazi
“we are the boat
returning to dock
we are the footprints
on the northern trail
we are the iron
coloring the soil
we cannot
be erased”
Remi Kanazi, Before the Next Bomb Drops

Mick Herron
“...he couldn’t help wondering how it had felt: refugees turning up from concentration camps, from a broken Europe, to find this bleak estate; its squat huts their new homes. There’d been watch towers and barbed wire fences. It can’t have looked like freedom. But freedom was measured, he supposed, by what you were leaving behind.”
Mick Herron, Joe Country

Sue  Whiting
“It will pass. You'll see. It always passes when there is love. I have had much hurt in my life, and look at us now. Nothing can change what has happened, but we can march forwards.”
Sue Whiting, The Book of Chance

Abhijit Naskar
“The founders of America were more criminal than modern immigrants – you know why – because the founders of America didn’t only enter this land illegally, but after entering they drove the natives out of their own home, whereas all that the immigrants of today want is to have a better life for their family. Now tell me – who are the real criminals?”
Abhijit Naskar, Generation Corazon: Nationalism is Terrorism

“But if I didn't make an effort on my part, there'll always be regret, wouldn't there?”
Sajla Anees, Refuge

Mayur Paranjape
“REFUGEES IN INDIA AROUND 195,000 REFUGEES WERE GRANTED ASYLUM IN INDIA IN 2019 ALONE COMPARED TO 101,000 BY CANADA, 54000 BY NORWAY, 33000 BY BRAZIL.”
Mayur Paranjape, Indian Inspirations: Contributions by India

Henning Mankell
“It is good to have a goal. You should hold on to it. People who have lost sight of their goal often begin to live in a careless manner.”
Henning Mankell, Tea-Bag

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