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On Borrowed Land

The label of ‘refugee’ is a thief. It robs them of the dignity they once owned and reduces them to migratory statistics. What they are running from and what they are running to become subjects of lazy chatter. But the refugees I met on the Greek islands of Leros and Kos weren’t poster kids of despair. They were ordinary human beings who found themselves on the wrong side of war and misfortune. But their tribulations have also made them more human. They do their best to preserve their daily habits, rituals, and sanity. Finding joy in little things to make a fresh start every day. They’ve seen death closely - their own and of their loved ones. Now all they have left is hope. But not the kind of hope peddled in self-help books or the one constructed from naive optimism. Like Ibrahim, a Syrian immigrant, said, it’s hope that can only be born from the darkest corner. And there’s no bomb potent enough to destroy it.

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