” no one would leave home unless home chased you to the shore”

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here”
― Warsan Shire

27 people lost their lives on Wednesday including an expectant mother and three children when the dinghy they were travelling in sank crossing between France and England.

On Tuesday 16th of November 10 people were found dead in the lower deck of a severely overcrowded wooden boat that was taking on water off the coast of Libya. It is estimated that 1,235 people have died or gone missing while attempting to cross the Central Mediterranean so far this year.

The Boat by Robinson RR

The Orkney artist Robinson RR, has for several years been creating work relating to refugees seeking asylum in Britain.


‘Syrian Reflection’ 2017. Made from logs washed ashore on Orkney

‘Hope in the Face of a Hostile Shore’ 2020. Made from driftwood washed ashore on Orkney

Ralph Robinson explained: “I have been protesting for many years the lack of coordination and unity of approach of the countries of Europe and Britain to the plight of refugees.”

Image credit: Bernie Bell

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4 replies »

  1. The way that Warsan Shire uses words reminds me of Gil Scott-Heron.

    The lines “run away from me now
    i don’t know what i’ve become” reminds me of the young Nazi in ‘The Sound of Music’ who had kissed the girl he was hunting.
    ‘The Sound of Music’ isn’t the fluff it’s often made out to be.

    And I’m reminded of Howard Hardiman’s image entitled ‘Siren’ in this piece… https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/06/22/here-be-bears/

    Robinson RR is a man of great vision – and it can be very hard to deal with seeing so clearly.
    But he doesn’t shield his eyes and instead is a mirror, reflecting that vision out to us.

    As Warsan Shire does with her words.

    I feel that I’m babbling about something I shouldn’t be babbling about. What is happening to us?
    Are we losing our sense of a shared humanity? These were people/are people – family – mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, lovers.

    • Unfortunately, we have lost the sense of shared humanity long time ago at the extremes.
      But now what was extremes is going to median, average, ‘normal’ distribution.

      • Yes – we recently watched a television programme in which Helen MacDonald mentioned that J.G Ballard wrote about the ‘Repressed violence in today’s society.’ And I said – “It’s no longer repressed.”

        Too many people, crammed together – turn on each other, like rats.
        And even more so, turn on the vulnerable.

        The message is there, all over the media – if you see vulnerability, don’t help it – exploit it, hurt it – enjoy hurting.

        Each of us can try though, to counter-balance this culture of nastiness.

  2. I saw this on Fiona (G)’s Twitter page….


    Thank you Fiona. I won’t be going to the Pier Arts Centre Christmas Exhibition, as I don’t go indoors where there are unknown people. This is the piece that I would have dearly liked to see.

    I’m hoping that someone makes a film of a walk round the exhibition so that those who can’t be there, for whatever reason, can be there.

    Seeing this article, and hearing Warsan Shire’s words has given me a kick where a kick was needed.
    I was ‘mooping’ about how life is now, about not feeling well all the time, etc. What the hell have I got to moop about? I have a warm dry house – food in the cupboard. If anyone threatened me, I could tell the Cops.
    A different world, and aren’t we lucky to be living in it.

    Bono is said to have felt bad about singing “Tonight thank God it’s them instead of you” about the famine in Ethiopia all those years ago – but the song writer was being realistic, when it comes down to it.

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