poem image for Gas Masks for Khan Sheikhoun | ruins in Morocco

Gas Masks for Khan Sheikhoun

Have you heard? They’re sending people
to Mars. It seems to me…
Crazy? Mars is hostile to life.
You can’t even breathe the
air! How will they survive?

Well, we’ll make them a refuge,
of course. It’s only
Right. We value their lives
– The forefront of humanity –
We must make sure they thrive.

We shall cast over them an Iron Dome,
pull fresh air from the ether,
make the rocks weep out its water,
grow food – it will be just like Home.

On their perilous journey we will strive
to keep them safe
watch them from afar
with 24-hour care
all they need to be is – brave.

All of that we can do?
Yes, if mankind has a mind to.

[Pause.
The night air is peaceful, and sweet.]

Say, did you also hear
There’s another place where
it’s hostile to breathe? The air
burns you inside, sears
you to stillness.

Do you think if me and you,
and us – we – were to say,
hey, we want to go and stay
with them, in that place that’s hostile too…
Do you think they
will build us all a refuge
and we all get to
breathe easy?

After all, if the refuge moves there
then… witness!
They wouldn’t be
refugee.

– Kuala Lumpur, for Syria [Khan Sheikhoun chemical gas release]. 

 

2017. At no time in the history of mankind, has war and unrest displaced as many people from their homes, turning ordinary citizens into destitute refugees. Today, almost 1 in 100 people are displaced persons.

Across the Middle East and Africa, one of the defining phenomena of the century begin to unfold. And when Syria folded in civil war, the escalation reached watershed proportions.

An entire nation – formerly prosperous and educated – reduced to beggars.

No continent is spared – whether as origin, transit, or asylum destination in this crisis.

Or as the profiteers.

Nations quarrel over mercy. Yet others quietly act their conscience. And some others stride over the region playing chess over the bones and flesh of those who cannot leave. Cannot sleep.

Cannot breathe.

How Travellers (and Residents) Can Help

poetry "Gas Masks for Khan Sheikhoun | how travellers can help in the greatest refugee crisis of humanity | Teja on the HorizonPerhaps most people in this famously travelling age, travel out of desperation.

But the discretionary traveller can also opt for a different kind of sustainable travel.

 

Find out more at the linked sites:

The UN Refugee Agency

Carefugees Malaysia

Inspiration:

Travel for a cause: Volunteering with refugees in Calais, France

Voluntering with Refugees in “the Jungle”

 

6 thoughts on “Gas Masks for Khan Sheikhoun

  1. It is really sad that we Man is not able to treasure and preserve this beautiful world that he inherited. It is imperative for every person to try and do their mite to ensure that the earth is not violated. Loved your lovely verses, very moving indeed.

  2. Wow. You really did good. Dedicating a whole post for volunteering enlightenment. Thumbs up. Many people are non humans. For whatever sake would one want to see a fellow being in distress. It’s so unfair.

  3. Your writeup moves something within. All that comes to mind is the lines from Robert Frost poem “nature doesn’t love a wall”… You are doing some good work out there

    1. Thank you. I think the bloggers the the stories I linked to were pretty awesome to have thought of it, done it, and then wrote about it. We many not all be able to do much, but a little bit every so often – consistently over time – is far from nothing. Every finance savings person will tell you so, and it’s no different for investing in human compassion.

  4. This was such a beautiful and important post. Thank you for bringing light to the refugee crisis, especially in the travel blogger sphere. We may feel we can’t do much, but there are little things we can do.

    1. Absolutely. A lot of the time we think because we can’t make a change all by ourselves, then it’s not worth doing. But something well thought out and sincere, consistent, is always worth doing even if it’s very small.

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