Seeking Peace In The UK
We spoke with Refugee Action who introduced us to SAM, a refugee the organisation has supported and who’s voice they have helped to amplify. We have collaborated with SAM to play our part in conveying her story by creating a collection of tees and totes in support of Refugee Action using some of her artwork, thoughts and a poem she wrote about peace.
“As an asylum seeker I am yet to fully understand and appreciate the term “peace”. It has a different meaning to each individual and its definition has been interpreted in various ways. The Oxford dictionary defines Peace as “a situation or a period of time in which there is no war or violence in a country or an area, the state of being calm or quiet or the state of living in friendship with somebody without arguing”. My favourite definition is “a state of calmness or tranquility, a freedom from worry and anxiety”. But as asylum seekers, we are constantly worried, anxious and afraid of the unknown, waiting for the calmness that never comes.” – SAM
PEACE – A poem by SAM
A man who is shot protecting his child while fleeing a war zone, his wife missing she was separated from him in the chaos of people running for their lives. His son taken from this world. He comes to Britain for safety one arm strapped in a sling and the other holding blankets and a sleeping bag. His been on the list waiting for his welfare benefits, for 5 months so that he can be housed. Where is his peace?
A girl who has been sentenced and has served 4 years in prison. She’s been persecuted and criminalised for being lesbian but manages to escape and comes to Britain for safety. She befriends a man who can support her and pretends to love him so that she can keep a roof over her head. Where is her peace?
The 65-year-old woman who will be hanged for practicing her religion and denied the ability to believe, comes to Britain for safety but ends up sleeping rough on the streets. Finally housed, she burns the food she is cooking without even knowing because she’s lost in thought. Where is her peace?
The barber who came to Britain for a better life but his been waiting for 5 years to be reunited with his wife and children. Spending hours after hours cutting hair, while his wages go to his solicitor, in an attempt to ensure that he can see his loved ones once again. Where is his peace?
Then there is me: a girl who was beaten black and blue by her own father because I did not want to marry a man who was chosen for me, my genital mutilated because of culture and myths. I stayed in Britain seeking safety still bearing my scars. Living in limbo, sleepless nights waiting for a decision for several years. Where is my peace?
These are the stories of strong, amazing, resilient, kind and beautiful people that I have come across throughout my journey. Living in uncertainty, our precious time passing by, hoping and praying for better days unites us. I could share more stories, and I could go into depth, but they are not my stories to share and if I am being honest, no amount of words can express our pain.
So, I paint our despair with every stroke of a brush representing our journeys, with every colour our dreams, hopes, ambitions and spirit stolen by the system, and our screams and cries for peace.
TOMORROW X SAM
In support of Refugee Action