18th September 2015

Beyond Pan

Over the last decade hundreds of young refugees and asylum seekers have joined our arts for change groups to find ways of dealing with trauma and to discover new futures far from their first homes.
Pan continues to welcome refugees and urges governments and international bodies to deal with the current crisis at source, on the journeys and here on our threshold.

Recently a friend sent me a powerful poem by Warsan Shire

it contained the lines:

"you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land"


"no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
I don't know what I’ve become
but I know that anywhere
is safer than here"

As we watch the primitive responses of so-called civilised countries to the agonising journeys of those whose home has become their enemy and who risk anything because it is safer than home; as we see razor wire constructed in the faces of desperate and exhausted human beings and measly quotas being argued over by safe politicians while humans die;  here at Pan, where we have heard stories of such journeys and where our participants have made such journeys, we join our voice to the humanitarian cry:

Refugees are welcome here

We have no idea what the future will bring but we may soon see many many more traumatised young people in our communities; lost and uprooted, needing ways to express their fears and their hopes and to discover what their new home might offer them and what they can offer it. Pan's refugee programmes have huge experience in helping such young people and we are ready to take our new young friends into them.

The dilemma is enormous and the overall solution beyond us, but the challenge it poses can be met positively to continue a long tradition of welcoming and absorbing newcomers into our society to enrich it and become part of it. We are all part of that.

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