Despite all this time, I still wonder: what does it mean to be uprooted? To lose everything? To become desolate and desperate? It perhaps means that life has become too unbearable, with its reality crushing your dreams and aspirations. Always longing. It might take the form of robbing one of mothers and fathers, reminding one of forgotten brother and sisters – and maybe it’s simply one becoming too broken. An abyss too crippling.
Maybe home is where one can find dignity. Home is where one can be legal, where one’s thoughts don’t constitute treason. Home is where your feet feel rooted and your breaths don’t feel forced. You can live years somewhere but have your mind and heart longing for another place. Almost an insane calling to be where you are not. It can be daunting to feel alone despite being surrounded by those who love you. And perhaps that is what’s most difficult to fathom: comfort does not necessitate feeling at home. Strange isn’t it: we can search for years of ourselves and the simplest things we take for granted could have already defined us enough. We just weren’t paying attention. You know you love winter more because of the seasonal fruit. You know that home can be heading in the middle of the night to your hideout where you are not alone despite only having the sky’s stars to comfort you.
I feel at home where I can let my mind drift without remorse. I can be a little strange (who doesn’t?) and not care too much. But here I am feeling amiss. I cannot think clearly – blurred are my thoughts by my fears. What happens if I say the wrong thing in front of the wrong person? How am I entangled in the bureaucracy of the state? Are my movements being watched? Am I losing my mind? It’s cringe-worthy being unable to speak. It reminds me of double-think – I need to believe in the state’s power to secure and provide freedom. But there is conflict. These thoughts cannot go hand-in-hand. Almost like ketchup on ice cream. How can it be? But I wonder how refugees of military states think. The constant fear of imprisonment and death always hovers. Your people will not be able to help you. “ملكش صاحب” – “You have no one.” Do not dissent. Remember. But not doing so means shackling your attempts at making a home. It denies you of something. Something integral to the process of creating a home…
Home. A strange and familiar concept.