Title: We Are Displaced
Author: Malala Yousafzai
Genre: nonfiction, biography, collected shorts, cultural
Is this part of a series? No
Published: September 4th, 2018
‘No one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark.
You only run for the border
when you see the whole city
running as well.’
-Warsan Shire, “Home”
‘I wrote this book because it seems that too many people don’t understand that refugees are ordinary people. All that differentiates them is that they got caught in the middle of a conflict that forced them to leave their homes, their loved ones, and the only lives they had known. They risked so much along the way, and why? Because it is too often a choice between life and death.
And, as my family did a decade ago, they chose life.’ -Malala Yousafzai in prologue.
I think this about up the book’s message perfectly. Here are stories from different girls and a few women that she met while visiting areas as an activist. They are short, but they are haunting.
As far as how I feel about the book…. I love it. I want everyone to read it. Far too often the immigration process is seen as a political crisis, and not a humanitarian one. It is easy to read about it and see only numbers. Each one, though, is attached to a person who risked everything for a safer or just plain better life. As humans we deserve to be safe, to know that our family won’t be killed…. that there is a community that will stand beside us. Can you imagine having to leave everything you know just to find something so simple? For me, this is a five star book. It is absolutely necessary, especially in this political climate. In honesty, I want everyone reading and discussing this book as well as a few others:
As an American, I know how lucky I am. I have food, education, my family is safe and healthy. Everyone deserves these things. I am no different than any of the girls in this book…. except that I was born in a country where these things are taken for granted. I thank God for that…. and I want it for everyone. In order to understand how the people seeking to immigrate, or applying for asylum, are feeling I can only look for their stories. To try to empathize… here, with this collection, it’s impossible not to.
On the adult content scale, there’s a lot of hard hitting stuff here…. violence, assault, language… pain. It’s emotionally charged and it will wreck you. On the other hand, it’s handled in such a way that I would still let my niece read this, or recommend it for required reading in school. I give it a four.
I want to add a few exerts here at the end.
‘”If we get caught, we will wind up in jail,” I heard someone say.
‘ That was when I got really scared. I knew what we were doing was risky, but I never imagined going to jail. For what? For simply wanting a better life? For wanting to be reunited with my sister? It seemed impossibly cruel….’ Sabreen, Yemen- Egypt- Italy
‘…when the war began in 2011, everything changed. There was no safety, no peace. The fighting got so bad- every day there were bombings, gunshots in the streets. Schools were forced to close. We lived under siege for two years before my dad finally made the difficult choice to leave our beloved country.’ Muzoon, Syria- Jordan
‘My mother used to say to me, “Marie Claire, what do you want? You must follow your dreams!” She said this to me when I came home from school in tears because the other kids were so mean to me. I had arrived in Zambia the year before after escaping the violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with my family. I did not speak the language well or look like the other kids in my class. They would tease me, call me names, even spit at me…
…we did not belong, but we had nowhere else to go…. We were still living at a refugee camp when she heard we could apply for refugee visas through the UNHCR…. One evening we heard a commotion outside our house. More than ten men with machetes and knives had circled the building….My mother died in front of us that day…. And then one day, my father got a call from UNHCR saying that our refugee application had been accepted. We did not learn where we were going- only that we would leave Zambia soon. It was such bittersweet news-my mother had started the process so many years earlier. I remember that we got a call to be interviewed when she was still alive, and we were all so hopeful. But then we heard nothing for years- and in between we lost her.’ Marie Claire, the Congo- Zambia- Pennsylvania.
Sorry this review got to be so long!
Link to book: