No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark

Poem by poet Warsan Shire:

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

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

go home blacks
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
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
be hunger
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here

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Kirkuk – a city where, only weeks ago, we laughed and played with our beautiful friends.

Esther Havens & Vickie Reddy traveled to Iraq in September 2016, to see the work of Preemptive Love Coalition. These stories are from their visit to Kirkuk. For more information on the current situation in Kirkuk, see the latest update from PLC, and consider supporting their work.

All images by Esther Havens.


Kirkuk – a city in Northern Iraq, 140 miles north of Baghdad, and 100 miles southeast of Mosul (the city Iraqi & coalition fighters are currently attempting to recapture from Isis). An otherwise somewhat stable city, that has today come under coordinated Isis attacks. The attacks are being described as a way for Isis to show it is still a force to be reckoned with while they come under fire on the march toward Mosul.

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Reflections on Lebanon

by Vickie Reddy

I have spent the past week in Lebanon, traveling with World Vision USA, and seeing the work they are doing with Syrian refugees who have fled there.

The most unexpected surprise from this trip was the effect Lebanon itself would have on me.

It’s hard to go to a country and not be moved by its people when you intentionally engage. And considering one of my closest friends is Lebanese, I am genuinely surprised at my response to having spent the past week there.

I am surprised by my lack of awareness of this country’s history. And, to be honest, the self professed tendency toward being “temperamental” (thank you Joe from seat 8B on the flight from Beirut to Istanbul), was how I had stereotyped the Lebanese as a population, limiting the nuances of their personality to this trait alone.

But instead, what I found was a culture of respect, immense pride in their country and history (perhaps more so than I have seen elsewhere), and an incredible sense of welcome and hospitality.

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So much brokenness…what can I do?

by Vickie Reddy

Original post August 19, 2016 here


Today I awoke to yet another compelling and heartbreaking image from Syria of yet another little boy whose story stops us in our tracks. It was almost this time a year ago that the image of Alan Kurdi emerged and completely changed the way I lived my life. I was confronted with the uncomfortable reality – what was it going to take for me to care enough to truly engage with the brokenness in our world?

These images are stark reminders of the reality our world is in, and yet these boys, and the millions they represent, feel like a world away from my reality. I have been trying to write this blog post for the past couple of weeks, finishing it is the only thing I can think to do in response to this image of Omran Daqneesh, and those who face this same reality every single day.

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Communities of Fortress or Sanctuary

by Jason Clarke, President & Executive Director, Seek The Peace


Over 200 people were rescued today after their boat sank while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. But not everyone made it out alive. 21 women and one man died. This adds to the almost 3,000 migrant deaths in the Mediterranean this year alone.[1]

The 22 brave souls who died trying to make it to Europe, did so knowing the worst could happen. They knew, as every refugee and migrant does, that the journey may cost them everything, even their life. With such a high risk of loss why would someone embark on such a journey?

Every person carries with them the same basic needs, wants and fears. Knowing this, we should take into account that a person seeking refuge through harrowing and often tragic journeys would only do so for reasons of extreme need – the kind of needs that we all as a human kind share.

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