Riverbend Girl adjusts to life as a refugee

Riverbend Girl writes the first time since fleeing with her family to Syria.  Her stuff always moves me.  Here is a few excerpts:

“We met two families we knew while waiting for our turn. We greeted each other like long lost friends and exchanged phone numbers and addresses in Damascus, promising to visit. I noticed the 23-year-old son, K., from one of the families was missing. I beat down my curiosity and refused to ask where he was. The mother was looking older than I remembered and the father looked constantly lost in thought, or maybe it was grief. I didn’t want to know if K. was dead or alive. I’d just have to believe he was alive and thriving somewhere, not worrying about borders or visas. Ignorance really is bliss sometimes…”

“By the time we had reentered the Syrian border and were headed back to the cab ready to take us into Kameshli, I had resigned myself to the fact that we were refugees. I read about refugees on the Internet daily… in the newspapers… hear about them on TV. I hear about the estimated 1.5 million plus Iraqi refugees in Syria and shake my head, never really considering myself or my family as one of them. After all, refugees are people who sleep in tents and have no potable water or plumbing, right? Refugees carry their belongings in bags instead of suitcases and they don’t have cell phones or Internet access, right? Grasping my passport in my hand like my life depended on it, with two extra months in Syria stamped inside, it hit me how wrong I was. We were all refugees. I was suddenly a number. No matter how wealthy or educated or comfortable, a refugee is a refugee. A refugee is someone who isn’t really welcome in any country- including their own… especially their own.”

“The first evening we arrived, exhausted, dragging suitcases behind us, morale a little bit bruised, the Kurdish family sent over their representative – a 9 year old boy missing two front teeth, holding a lopsided cake, “We’re Abu Mohammed’s house- across from you- mama says if you need anything, just ask- this is our number. Abu Dalia’s family live upstairs, this is their number. We’re all Iraqi too… Welcome to the building.”

“I cried that night because for the first time in a long time, so far away from home, I felt the unity that had been stolen from us in 2003.”

http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/2007_10_01_riverbendblog_archive.html#3939951753835220137#3939951753835220137 

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2 Responses to “Riverbend Girl adjusts to life as a refugee”


  1. 1 bookloverman June 10, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Spread the word!!! We need to know where she is!!!

  2. 2 theradicalmormon June 10, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    It’s been a year and a half since she last posted. It sure would be nice to hear from her again. At least she was in Syria where we can hope she was relatively safe. She has been a poignant voice for the voiceless in Iraq.


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