Refugee Quotes


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“Unless the world finds compassion for this new communality, learns to make sense of one another’s voices, its humanity will perish.”*

I have been a stranger in many places around the world. In those places, I slowly found a place and a home. It hasn’t always been easy, but there are many times and many ways that I have been welcomed as a stranger and given food and comfort.

It is a gift to be welcomed into places where you are different from those who surround you. It is a gift that you never forget; a gift that you want to pass on.

Wherever they go, the refugee arrives as a stranger with a story. These stories encompass all that it means to be human. They speak of fear and courage; of despair and hope. They help us to see beyond our comfortable lives, and give us a heart to help. If we are willing to listen.

Today I am asking you to listen to the voices of refugees and for refugees. As you read through these quotes, remember this: We cannot sit back, comfortable in our security, because someday it will be us.


“No one puts their children in a boat, unless the water is safer than the land.” excerpt from “Home” by Warsan Shire

This is a century of dislocation not merely of body and home, but also of empathy, dignity, compassion.”-From Refugees Don’t Need Your Pity

“They have no idea what it is like to lose home at the risk of never finding home again, have your entire life split between two lands and become the bridge between two countries.”
— Rupi Kaur, Milk & Honey

To be called a refugee is the opposite of an insult; it is a badge of strength, courage, and victory.” Tennessee Office for Refugees

“If we lived in a just world, all nations would protect their citizens’ human rights. But that’s not our world. Refugees are just one result of injustice. Crucially, they didn’t cause their plight; rather, they are victims of profound injustice. Because their home nation cannot or will not protect even their basic human rights, they must migrate in search of protection. They are entitled to this protection, as all of us are, simply by virtue of being human.” Patti Tamara Lenard, “Who should pay for the refugees? Here are five possible answers.” Washington Post, February 8, 2016

…If the world measures a refugee according to the worst story, we will always excuse human suffering, saying it is not yet as bad as someone else’s.” Victoria Armour-Hileman

The way a government treats refugees is very instructive because it shows you how they would treat the rest of us if they thought they could get away with it.- Tony Behn “Living Like a Refugee: New York Must Do More to Help Its Homeless”, The Observer, September 9, 2015

So often the world sits idly by, watching ethnic conflicts flare up, as if these were mere entertainment rather than human beings whose lives are being destroyed. Shouldn’t the existence of even one single refugee be a cause for alarm throughout the world?” Urkhan Alakbarov

“While every refugee’s story is different and their anguish personal, they all share a common thread of uncommon courage – the courage not only to survive, but to persevere and rebuild their shattered lives.” Antonio Guterres, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees

*From Refugees Don’t Need Your Pity

Remember! Purchase Passages Through Pakistan and royalties will go to refugees in the Middle East. 


Without a Country or a Home

The Long Return Home – Pakistan Flood 2010

History shows us that those without a country struggle with national identity, have no voice and no advocate”~ Annie Rebekah Gardner

On days when I most want to settle into my comfortable armchair of self pity with my iced cold cup of whining I am forced by outside voices into awareness of someone or something that is more important than my comfort. Into the frustration of a rainy afternoon came a “Faces of the Displaced” photo montage that shook me out of  the armchair and spilled my cup demanding my full attention. Beautifully shot, the people are so real and cry out for me to be aware of their plight. By the end of the montage there had been 39. But 39 out of how many million?

I am far too realistic to think that finding homes for millions of people is in my purview. I know better. But I have been learning about the power of the written word in raising awareness and encouraging action in the form of time, money, and prayer. The media moves on quickly but bloggers don’t have to. When the luxury of a newscamera detailing a tragedy for the international news ends, bloggers can continue to bring attention to the humanitarian need in places far away . So here are some facts:

  • UNHCR (UN High Commission for Refugees) says there are almost 10.4 million refugees living outside their home countries.
  • The number of internally displaced people worldwide reached 27.5 million in 2010, the highest number since the mid-1990s (Reuters)
  • Worldwide, Pakistan has the highest number of internally displaced persons (people forced to leave their homes because of violence, humanitarian crisis, violation of human rights) at 1.2 million
  • While international law gives certain rights to refugees who cross over borders, internally displaced people have none of those rights
  • It is estimated that 80% of refugees are women and children (Refugees International)
  • International law does not allow a refugee to be forced back to the country they have fled
  • UNHCR (UN High Commission for Refugees) says there are three long-term solutions to the refugee crisis: Return; local integration; and third country resettlement.
  • Recently Libyans have poured into both Egypt and Tunisia to escape the violence of the regime.
  • The recent crisis in Japan displaced over 300,000

These bullet pointed facts force me into action when I consider my love of ‘home’. As I daily walk home after long days at work I revel that in minutes I will walk in the door, there will be light and warmth, kitties and cookies, comfort and freedom. That’s what home can be and refugees,whether internally or externally displaced, have lost their home and their refuge from the assaults of the world. So what can one person do?

  • Welcome refugees in your community, sponsor a refugee family, volunteer at Catholic Relief Services or Church World Service
  • Look into Durable Solutions for Displaced People and see what you could do to help.
  • If you attend a church or are part of a faith community encourage the sponsoring of refugee families

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