Where Have You Been?

I was in Greece during the coldest winter for years, working to ameliorate the lives of refugee women, men and their families there. I'm haunted by it. Not so much by the stories, which are monuments to human destruction and human triumphant resilience at the same time. But by the ego-based failure of those who wish to help, to really do anything effective.

I just heard news from Raqqa. The families there have no human choice. Stay and die. Leave and die.

What will we do? What is to be done?

I remembered the stories I heard when I was in the camps in Greece. And this song was going on and on in my mind.

A woman with bomb pieces in her hip.

Families who know they will never see their homes again.

A man who lay bleeding for hours in Aleppo.

A child who was thrown from her father's arms to her uncle's, as her father was dragged back to Turkey.

A child who makes money for the family selling sex ... while her mother takes care of her baby.

A man who walked with his wife, children and his mother across several countries to make a better life, who is angry because he is stuck in northern Greece.

An artist who painted the pictures of terror.

A child with a look of horror who walked around the hotel lobby playing a tin drum.

A predator extorting refugees for money.

A volunteer leader who is cruel and greedy.

Some children in a military camp killing a litter of puppies.

A baby dying of hepatitis.

A young man dying while the doctors were at the gate being questioned for papers.

The boats arriving through the fog and snow.

Boxes and boxes of stuff sitting waiting in warehouses while paperwork gets done and people are cold and underfed.

Couples wanting to make love and condoms tied up in bureaucratic red tape.

A young man in jail in Turkey for no reason.

A family with a newborn with nowhere to live.

And what do you do now, my darling young one?


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