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Like a Leaf in the Air

Living the life of a refugee is living just like a leaf in the air, you just hang in the air and you do not have a sense of belonging.  You have been uprooted and you are not allowed to go back to where you belong.  (Neda Soltani*)

Recently I have been reflecting a lot on places and their importance in giving us a sense of identity, belonging and rootedness.  In the midst of this, I happened to hear an interview with Neda Soltani, a refugee from Iran living in Germany.

Like a leaf in the air

Her words haunt me, the words she uses to describe her sense of having lost her home, her roots, her place in life.

What is it like to lose all that, without a way back?  To be cut off from people and places you love?  I have made many of these transitions and they have been difficult.  But I have always made them voluntarily.  I could have always gone back.

Like a leaf in the air

Twirling around, detached from the tree you were a part of.

I have friends who have lived this, and are living it.  They have found a new home, have put down some roots.  Yet a part of them is missing in this new place.

12 million. The number of refugees in the world today (according to the IRC).  There are many difficult issues related to this – challenges for host communities, people who abuse the system.  And yet those are 12 million human beings having to live

Like a leaf in the air.

*”Neda Soltani’s life was turned upside down when the international media used her photo instead of that of a student shot dead during a demonstration in Iran.”  You can hear her story on the 1 October 2012 edition of Outlook on BBC World.

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