Thursday, 18 January 2018

Statistics of hope

Photo: UNHCR
Sixty-five million people are displaced in the world today. Many of them are in camps, unable to move on.

Every three seconds some one else has to leave their home to flee war, climate change, famine, violence.

This poem was first published on the poetry24 website (link below).  I was prompted to re-post the poem here after seeing Ai WeiWei's stunning film Human Flow, which draws on the same statistics I use, as calculated by UNHCR -

Statistics of hope

Count to three: one   two   three, there’s another

one   two   three, and another    displaced person,

one every three seconds, somewhere in the world.

One   two   three. In Chad a woman travels in a cart

30km to a mobile clinic, collapses 300m short.

A doctor checks Bless, a seven month old girl,

suspected malaria.  One   two   three.

In Tripoli: women are detained, 30 in a small room,

one blanket each, they’ve been there months,

it may become years; no access to law, no medical care.

Fifty-eight refugees adrift in the Med in one small boat.

412 rescued from the water, escaping

Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh.

One  two   three: one little boy sits alone

on a floor in a corridor in a former resort in Greece,

now used for refugees needing mental health care.

In Nairobi 400 people each month arrive at one clinic.

In Nigeria 45,000 refugees pack one camp

for displaced people from Cameroon.

One  two  three. Gloria, aged 11 years,

displaced in Malawi, HIV and TB positive.

8,000 in a camp near Raqqa, Syria,

there for months, years.

Hundreds of thousands from Myanmar

seek shelter from the monsoon  in rice fields in Bangladesh.

They wait for permission to move, drowning in hope.

One in every 113 people on the planet is a refugee.

Someone is displaced every three seconds.

One  two  three. 65million displaced people

in the world, now,

one   two  three

Debora Njala, 18, HIV and TB positive, in Malawi, says:

“I will achieve my dreams and the future is bright.”

One  two  three. A man, a woman, two children

in a camp in Lesvos, not allowed

to leave for mainland Europe.

The father, Karon says:

“It is my true dream that my children will live

in a country without war, without bloodshed.

This is the only thing I wish for.”

All it takes is the will of the developed world …

one  two  three …
In the time it takes to read this poem 100 people in the world will have become displaced.

Here's a recording of me reading this poem:

If you want to read more poetry that is inspired by current news events poetry24 is one of the places to go. Read more here:

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