Watching from afar as thousands flee their country only serves to underscore the absolute sacredness and importance of homeland. Featuring disturbing and disturbing footage of so many families being torn apart UkraineYou can’t help but wonder when — or if — they’ll be reunited.
And where? Maybe in Poland or Romania or much further away from their homeland. How many of them will ever see Kyiv or Mariupol again, will ever stroll the streets of their native city again?
Accordingly The Washington PostThe largest displacement of Europeans since World War II could be underway as US officials estimate that up to five million Ukrainian refugees will seek refuge beyond their own borders.
Refugees. It’s an emotional word that means exactly what it says – people who need sanctuary.
No one would have to voluntarily flee their home country. Home is home, and while some choose to go away for a variety of reasons, home is still home. Its magnetic attraction is like an umbilical cord.
I have never forgotten a moment on the radio a few years ago when RTÉ’s Tony Connelly interviewed a Syrian refugee who was then living in Germany and spoke eloquently and positively about his new life there.
So Germany is his dream country, Tony Connelly wanted to know.
“No,” the Syrian answered quietly but firmly, “my home is my dreamland.”
In this short sentence he has captured the essence and truth of emigration in all its myriad shapes, sizes and complex colours.
At home. We turn to him in times of crisis, his visceral appeal is balm for many tormented souls. That sense of home, of belonging to a specific place, celebrated in literature and music around the world, always haunts us; It’s the place we can never leave. Because it remains, as Yeats once said, at the core of our deep heart.
For many of our own historic economic émigrés, it was London that lured them. However, it was a goodbye from which many never recovered, a goodbye that left them with a loneliness and desolation that would overshadow the rest of their lives.
As the decades passed, the realization dawned that the much imagined homecoming dream was just that. It was a fantasy contemplated on a bar stool like The Crown in Cricklewood for far too many nights and on the bottom of far too many glasses, until finally loss of home became loss of self.
As Ukrainian refugees are on the move and likely to settle somewhere far from their home country, we should remember that however inviting they may find it, it will not be their dream country. it will never really be home.
As the poet John Hewitt described it in an Irish context – how Lir’s children, who were banished to the water, their “hearts [will] Still listen to the bells on land.”
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/the-importance-of-home-has-never-been-more-apparent-41405270.html The importance of home has never been so evident